"/ found Sill backed up against the side of it, breathing hard,
and the boy threatening to smash him with a rock half as big as
The Ransom of Red Chief
O. Henry Stories
AS CHOSEN BY
FRANKLIN K. MATHIEWS
GARDEN CITY, N. Y., AND TORONTO
DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY
Copyright, 1906, 1 907, 1908, /pop, /p/o, /p//, /p/S,
DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY
reserved, including that of
translation into foreign languages,
including the Scandinavian
PRINTED AT GARDEN CITY, N. Y., U. S, A.
Mr. Gordon Grant's illustrations in this
book are taken from those which appear in
the handsome fourteen-volume Memorial
Edition of O. Henry's works, and grateful
acknowledgment is therefore made to Mr.
Gabriel Wells, through whose courtesy they
THE RANSOM OF RED CHIEF 3
JIMMIE HAYES AND MURIEL 24
A TECHNICAL ERROR 35
THE REFORMATION OF CALLIOPE .... 48
JEFF PETERS AS A PERSONAL MAGNET ... 65
ONE DOLLAR'S WORTH 78
A CHAPARRAL CHRISTMAS GIFT 92
THE ROADS WE TAKE 102
NEW YORK BY CAMP FIRE LIGHT . . . . 1 1 1
THE ADVENTURES OF SHAMROCK JOLNES . . 119
THE SLEUTHS 131
THE COP AND THE ANTHEM 143
THE FOREIGN POLICY OF Co. 99 .... 156
MEMOIRS OF A YELLOW DOG 168
LOST ON DRESS PARADE 178
THE LOVE-PHILTRE OF IKEY SCHOENSTEIN . . 191
THE GIRL AND THE HABIT 201
AFTER TWENTY YEARS 212
"WHAT You WANT" 219
THE CLARION CALL . 230
A RETRIEVED REFORMATION 244
A DOUBLE-DYED DECEIVER 259
THE THEORY AND THE HOUND 281
A BLACKJACK BARGAINER . . . . . .301
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
I found Bill backed up against the side
of it, breathing hard, and the boy
threatening to smash him with a rock
half as big as a cocoanut . . Frontispiece
(See page 10)
I made a few passes with my hands.
"Now," says I, "the inflammation's
The man from the West stopped suddenly
and released his arm. "You're not
Jimmie Wells," he snapped .... 216
He knew the country well its most tor-
tuous and obscure trails through the
great wilderness 264
BOYS, meet O. Henry! That's the proper
way, it seems to me, to begin an "Introduc-
tion" for you lads. As a teller of tales and
spinner of yarns, by very many he is counted
our country's greatest short story writer. The
earlier in life you get acquainted with him,
the longer you will enjoy him and the fewer
will be your regrets that you didn't know him
sooner. He didn't write stories for boys, but
a big bunch of them might just as well have
been, and after reading the ones I have chosen,
you lads are likely to develop a taste for more
that will make all his stories equally easy and
In this selection you will find stories of the
wild a- d woolly west. Cow-punchers, Indians,
desperadoes, "greasers," good men and bad
aplenty, crowd one another on and off the
page. As you read, one moment you will be
thrilled and the very next, if you don't watch
out, you will find yourself laughing so loudly
you'll have to tell "what's the joke."
Above all, you boys demand the surprise,
or unexpected happening in or at the end of
the story. That's why you like detective
stories so well. Run your eye down the table
of contents and there greets you a goodly
number of these, such as only O. Henry could
write. Here again you will find the thrill, and
again the rollicking fun to make you laugh.
I promise you that, unless it be you are un-
like other boys I know.
I might describe individual stories. But
why should I? When the titles don't tell
their own stories they so provoke your curios-
ity you want yourself to read the story; to
tell you about it would be in part to spoil it.
You want to find out for yourself what "One
Dollar's Worth" is all about. And you know,
of course, that "The Adventures of Shamrock
Jolnes" is full of laughs, as must be "The
Ransom of Red Chief."
There's another fine thing about it, too.
Here's a book where it doesn't matter much
whether you begin at the beginning or in the
middle or at the end, it's all the same you
are bound to be immensely pleased. So, goo(?
luck to you ! Perhaps some day in our travels
we'll come upon each other. Should that
pleasure ever be mine, I am confident you will
thank me for having introduced you to 0.
F. K. MATHIEWS
Chief Scout Librarian,
Boy Scouts of America.
THE RANSOM OF RED CHIEF
AND OTHER O. HENRY STORIES
THE RANSOM OF RED CHIEF
AND OTHER O. HENRY STORIES
THE RANSOM OF RED CHIEF
IT LOOKED like a good thing: but wait till I
tell you. We were down South, in Alabama
Bill Driscoll and myself when this kid-
napping idea struck us. It was, as Bill after-
ward expressed it, "during a moment of
temporary mental apparition"; but we didn't
find that out till later.
There was a town down there, as flat as a
flannel-cake, and called Summit, of course.
It contained inhabitants of as undeleterious
and self-satisfied a class of peasantry as ever
clustered around a Maypole.
Bill and me had a joint capital of about six
hundred dollars, and we needed just two
thousand dollars more to pull off a fraudulent
town-lot scheme in Western Illinois with.
We talked it over on the front steps of the
4 The Ransom of Red Chief
hotel. Philoprogenitiveness, says we, is
strong in semirural communities; therefore,
and for other reasons, a kidnapping project
ought to do better there than in the radius
of newspapers that send reporters out in plain
clothes to stir up talk about such things.
We knew that Summit couldn't get after us
with anything stronger than constables and,
maybe, some lackadaisical bloodhounds and
a diatribe or two in the Weekly Farmers 9
Budget. So, it looked good.
We selected for our victim the only child of
a prominent citizen named Ebenezer Dorset.
The father was respectable and tight, a mort-
gage fancier and a stern, upright collection-
plate passer and forecloser. The kid was a
boy of ten, with bas-relief freckles, and hair
the colour of the cover of the magazine you
buy at the news-stand when you want to
catch a train. Bill and me figured that
Ebenezer would melt down for a ransom of
two thousand dollars to a cent. But wait
till I tell you.
About two miles from Summit was a little
mountain, covered with a dense cedar brake.
On the rear elevation of this mountain was a
cave. There we stored provisions.
The Ransom of Red Chief 5
One evening after sundown we drove in a
buggy past old Dorset's house. The kid
was in the street, throwing rocks at a kitten
on the opposite fence.
"Hey, little boy!" says Bill, "would you
like to have a bag of candy and a nice
The boy catches Bill neatly in the eye with
a piece of brick.
"That will cost the old man an extra five
hundred dollars," says Bill, climbing over
That boy put up a fight like a welter-weight
cinnamon bear; but, at last, we got him down
in the bottom of the buggy and drove away.
We took him up to the cave, and I hitched the
horse in the cedar brake. After dark I drove
the buggy to the little village, three miles
away, where we had hired it, and walked back
to the mountain.
Bill was pasting court-plaster over the
scratches and bruises on his features. There
was a fire burning behind the big rock at the
entrance of the cave, and the boy was watch-
ing a pot of boiling coffee, with two buzzard
tail-feathers stuck in his red hair. He points
a stick at me when I come up, and says :
6 The Ransom of Red Chief
"Ha! cursed paleface, do you dare to enter
the camp of Red Chief, the terror of the plains ? "
"He's all right now," says Bill, rolling up his
trousers and examining some bruises on his
shins. "We're playing Indian. We're mak-
ing Buffalo Bill's show look like magic-lantern
views of Palestine in the town hall. I'm Old
Hank, the Trapper, Red Chief's captive, and
I'm to be scalped at daybreak. By Geronimo !
that kid can kick hard."
Yes, sir, that boy seemed to be having the
time of his life. The fun of camping out in a
cave had made him forget that he was a cap-
tive himself. He immediately christened me
Snake-eye, the Spy, and announced that,
when his braves returned from the warpath,
I was to be broiled at the stake at the rising
of the sun.
Then we had supper; and he'filled his mouth
full of bacon and bread and gravy, and began
to talk. He made a during-dinner speech
something like this:
"I like this fine. I never camped out be-
fore; but I had a pet 'possum once, and I was
nine last birthday. I hate to go to school.
Rats ate up sixteen of Jimmy Talbot's aunt's
speckled hen's eggs. Are there any real
The Ransom of Red Chief 7
Indians in these woods? I want some more
gravy. Does the trees moving make the
wind blow? We had five puppies. What
makes your nose so red, Hank? My father
has lots of money. Are the stars hot? I
whipped Ed Walker twice, Saturday. I don't
like girls. You dassent catch toads unless
with a string. Do oxen make any noise?
Why are oranges round ? Have you got beds
to sleep on in this cave? Amos Murray has
got six toes. A parrot can talk, but a monkey
or a fish can't. How many does it take to
Every few minutes he would remember that
he was a pesky redskin, and pick up his stick
rifle and tiptoe to the mouth of the cave
to rubber for the scouts of the hated pale-
face. Now and then he would let out a war-
whoop that made Old Hank the Trapper
shiver. That boy had Bill terrorized from the
"Red Chief," says I to the kid, "would
you like to go home?"
"Aw, what for?" says he. "I don't have
any fun at home. I hate to go to school. I
like to camp out. You won't take me back
home again, Snake-eye, will you?"
1 8 The Ransom of Red Chief
"Not right away," says I. "We'll stay
here in the cave awhile."
"All right!" says he. "That'll be fine.
I never had such fun in all my life."
We went to bed about eleven o'clock. We
spread down some wide blankets and quilts
and put Red Chief between us. We weren't
afraid he'd run away. He kept us awake for
three hours, jumping up and reaching for his
rifle and screeching: "Hist! pard," in mine
and Bill's ears, as the fancied crackle of a twig
or the rustle of a leaf revealed to his young
imagination the stealthy approach of the out-
law band. At last I fell into a troubled
sleep, and dreamed that I had been kidnapped
and chained to a tree by a ferocious pirate
with red hair.
Just at daybreak I was awakened by a
series of awful screams from Bill. They
weren't yells, or howls, or shouts, or whoops,
or yawps, such as you'd expect from a manly
set of vocal organs they were simply in-
decent, terrifying, humiliating screams, such
as women emit when they see ghosts or cater-
pillars. It's an awful thing to hear a strong,
desperate, fat man scream incontinently in a
cave at daybreak.
The Ransom of Red Chief 9
I jumped up to see what the matter was.
Red Chief was sitting on Bill's chest, with one
hand twined in Bill's hair. In the other he
had the sharp case-knife we used for slicing
bacon; and he was industriously and real-
istically trying to take Bill's scalp, according
to the sentence that had been pronounced
upon him the evening before.
I got the knife away from the kid and made
him lie down again. But from that moment
Bill's spirit was broken. He laid down on his
side of the bed, but he never closed an eye
again in sleep as long as that boy was with us.
I dozed off for a while, but along toward sun-
up I remembered that Red Chief had said I was
to be burned at the stake at the rising of the
sun. I wasn't nervous or afraid ; but I sat up
and lit my pipe and leaned against a rock.
"What you getting up so soon for, Sam?"
"Me?" says I. "Oh, I got a kind of a pain
in my shoulder. I thought sitting up would
" You're a liar!" says Bill. " You're afraid.
You was to be burned at sunrise, and you was
afraid he'd do it. And he would, too, if he
could find a match. Ain't it awful, Sam?
io The Ransom of Red Chief
Do you think anybody will pay out money to
get a little imp like that back home?"
" Sure," said I. "A rowdy kid like that is just
the kind that parents dote on. Now, you and
the Chief get up and cook breakfast, while I go
up on the top of this mountain and reconnoitre."
I went up on the peak of the little mountain
and ran my eye over the contiguous vicinity.
Over toward Summit I expected to see the
sturdy yeomanry of the village armed with
scythes and pitchforks beating the country-
side for the dastardly kidnappers. But what
I saw was a peaceful landscape dotted with
one man ploughing with a dun mule. No-
body was dragging the creek; no couriers
dashed hither and yon, bringing tidings of no
news to the distracted parents. There was
a sylvan attitude of somnolent sleepiness per-
vading that section of the external outward
surface of Alabama that lay exposed to my
view. "Perhaps," says I to myself, "it has
not yet been discovered that the wolves have
borne away the tender lambkin from the fold.
Heaven help the wolves!" says I, and I
went down the mountain to breakfast.
When I got to the cave I found Bill backed
up against the side of it, breathing hard, and
The Ransom of Red Chief n
the boy threatening to smash him with a
rock half as big as a cocoanut.
"He put a red-hot boiled potato down my
back," explained Bill, "and then mashed it with
his foot; and I boxed his ears. Have you got
a gun about you, Sam?"
I took the rock away from the boy and kind
of patched up the argument. "I'll fix you/'
says the kid to Bill. "No man ever yet
struck the Red Chief but what he got paid
for it. You better beware!"
After breakfast the kid takes a piece of
leather with strings wrapped around it out of
his pocket and goes outside the cave unwind-
"What's he up to now?" says Bill anxiously.
" You don't think he'll run away, do you, Sam ?"
"No fear of it," says I. "He don't seem
to be much of a home body. But we've got
to fix up some plan about the ransom. There
don't seem to be much excitement around
Summit on account of his disappearance : but
maybe they haven't realized yet that he's
gone. His folks may think he's spending
the night with Aunt Jane or one of the neigh-
bours. Anyhow, he'll be missed to-day. To-
night we must get a message to his father
12 The Ransom of Red Chief
demanding the two thousand dollars for his
Just then we heard a kind of war-whoop,
such as David might have emitted when he
knocked out the champion Goliath. It was
a sling that Red Chief had pulled out of his
pocket, and he was whirling it around his
I dodged, and heard a heavy thud and a kind
of a sigh from Bill, like a horse gives out when
you take 1 his saddle off. A niggerhead rock
the size of an egg had caught Bill just behind
his left ear. He loosened himself all over and
fell in the fire across the frying pan of hot water
for washing the dishes. I dragged him out and
poured cold water on his head for half an hour.
By and by, Bill sits up and feels behind his
ear and says: "Sam, do you know who my
favourite Biblical character is?"
"Take it easy/' says I. "You'll come to
your senses presently."
"King Herod/' says he. "You won't go
away and leave me here alone, will you,
I went out and caught that boy and shook
him until his freckles rattled.
"If you don't behave," says I, "I'll take
The Ransom of Red Chief 13
you straight home. Now, are you going to
be good, or not?"
"I was only funning," says he sullenly.
"I didn't mean to hurt Old Hank. But
what did he hit me for? I'll behave, Snake-
, eye, if you won't send me home, and if you'll
let me play the Black Scout to-day."
"I don't know the game," says I. "That's
for you and Mr. Bill to decide. He's your
playmate for the day. I'm going away for a
while, on business. Now, you come in and
make friends with him and say you are sorry
for hurting him, or home you go, at once."
I made him and Bill shake hands, and then
I took Bill aside and told him I was going to
Poplar Cove, a little village three miles from
the cave, and find out what I could about how
the kidnapping had been regarded in Summit.
Also, I thought it best to send a peremptory
letter to old man Dorset that day, demanding
the ransom and dictating how it should be paid.
"You know, Sam," says Bill, "I've stood
by you without batting an eye in earthquakes,
fire, and flood in poker games, dynamite out-
rages, police raids, train robberies, and cy-
clones. I never lost my nerve yet till we
kidnapped that two-legged skyrocket of a
14 The Ransom of Red Chief
kid. He's got me going. You won't leave
me long with him, will you, Sam?"
"I'll be back some time this afternoon,"
says I. "You must keep the boy amused
and quiet till I return. And now we'll write
the letter to old Dorset."
Bill and I got paper and pencil and worked
on the letter while Red Chief, with a blanket
wrapped around him, strutted up and down,
guarding the mouth of the cave. Bill begged
me tearfully to make the ransom fifteen hun-
dred dollars instead of two thousand. "I
ain't attempting," says he, "to decry the
celebrated moral aspect of parental affection,
but we're dealing with humans, and it ain't
human for anybody to give up two thousand
dollars for that forty-pound chunk of freck-
led wildcat. I'm willing to take a chance at
fifteen hundred dollars. You can charge the
difference up to me."
So, to relieve Bill, I acceded, and we col-
laborated a letter that ran this way:
EBENEZER DORSET, ESQ.:
We have your boy concealed in a place far from
Summit. It is useless for you or the most skilful
detectives to attempt to find him. Absolutely, the
only terms on which you can have him restored to you
The Ransom of Red Chief 15
are these: We demand fifteen hundred dollars in
large bills for his return: the money to be left at mid-
night to-night at the same spot and in the same box
as your reply as hereinafter described. If you agree
to these terms, send your answer in writing by a sol-
itary messenger to-night at half-past eight o'clock.
After crossing Owl Creek, on the road to Poplar Cove,
there are three large trees about a hundred yards apart,
close to the fence of the wheat field on the right-hand
side. At the bottom of the fence-post, opposite the
third tree, will be found a small pasteboard box.
The messenger will place the answer in this box and
return immediately to Summit.
If you attempt any treachery or fail to comply with
our demand as stated, you will never see your boy
If you pay the money as demanded, he will be re-
turned to you safe and well within three hours. These
terms are final, and if you do not accede to them no
further communication will be attempted.
Two DESPERATE MEN.
I addressed this letter to Dorset, and put
it in my pocket. As I was about to start,
the kid comes up to me and says:
"Aw, Snake-eye, you said I could play the
Black Scout while you was gone."
"Play it, of course," says I. "Mr. Bill
will play with you. What kind of a game is it ? "
"I'm the Black Scout," says Red Chief,
1 6 The Ransom of Red Chief
"and I have to ride to the stockade to warn
the settlers that the Indians are coming. I'm
tired of playing Indian myself. I want to be
the Black Scout."
"All right/* says I. "It sounds harmless
to me. I guess Mr. Bill will help you foil the
"What am I to do?" asks Bill, looking at
the kid suspiciously.
"You are the hoss," says Black Scout.
"Get down on your hands and knees. How
can I ride to the stockade without a hoss?"
" You'd better keep him interested," said
I, "till we get the scheme going. Loosen
Bill gets down on his all fours, and a look
comes in his eye like a rabbit's when you catch
it in a trap.
"How far is it to the stockade, kid?" he
asks, in a husky manner of voice.
"Ninety miles," says the Black Scout.
"And you have to hump yourself to get there
on time. Whoa, now!"
The Black Scout jumps on Bill's back and
digs his heels in his side.
"For Heaven's sake," says Bill, "hurry
back, Sam, as soon as you can. I wish we
The Ransom of Red Chief '17
hadn't made the ransom more than a thou-
sand. Say, you quit kicking me or I'll get
up and warm you good."
I walked over to Poplar Cove and sat
around the post-office and store, talking with
the chawbacons that came in to trade. One
whiskerando says that he hears Summit is all
upset on account of Elder Ebenezer Dorset's
boy having been lost or stolen. That was all
I wanted to know. I bought some smoking
tobacco, referred casually to the price of
black-eyed peas, posted my letter surrep-
titiously, and came away. The postmaster
said the mail-carrier would come by in an
hour to take the mail on to Summit.
When I got back to the cave Bill and the
boy were not to be found. I explored the
vicinity of the cave, and risked a yodel or two,
but there was no response.
So I lighted my pipe and sat down on a
mossy bank to wait developments.
In about half an hour I heard the bushes
rustle, and Bill wabbled out into the little
glade in front of the cave. Behind him was the
kid, stepping softly like a scout, with a broad
grin on his face. Bill stopped, took off his
hat, and wiped his face with a red handker-
1 8 The Ransom of Red Chief
chief. The kid stopped about eight feet
"Sam," says Bill, "I suppose you'll think
I'm a renegade, but I couldn't help it. I'm
a grown person with masculine proclivities
and habits of self-defense, but there is a time
when all systems of egotism and predomi-
nance fail. The boy is gone. I have sent
him home. All is off. There was martyrs
in old times," goes on Bill, "that suffered
death rather than give up the particular
graft they enjoyed. None of 'em ever was
subjugated to such supernatural tortures as I
have been. I tried to be faithful to our
articles of depredation; but there came a limit."
"What's the trouble, Bill?" I asks him.
"I was rode," says Bill, "the ninety miles
to the stockade, not barring an inch. Then,
when the settlers was rescued, I was given
oats. Sand ain't a palatable substitute.
And then, for an hour I had to try to explain
to him why there was nothin' in holes, how a
road can run both ways, and what makes the
grass green. I tell you, Sam, a human can
only stand so much. I takes him by the
neck of his clothes and drags him down the
mountain. On the way he kicks my legs
The Ransom of Red Chief 19
black-and-blue from the knees down; and
I've got to have two or three bites on my
thumb and hand cauterized.
"But he's gone" continues Bill "gone
home. I showed him the road to Summit and
kicked him about eight feet nearer there at
one kick. I'm sorry we lose the ransom; but
it was either that or Bill Driscoll to the mad-
Bill is puffing and blowing, but there is a
look of ineffable peace and growing content
on his rose-pink features.
"Bill," says I, "there isn't any heart disease
in your family, is there?"
"No," says Bill, "nothing chronic except
malaria and accidents. Why?"
"Then you might turn around," says I,
"and have a look behind you."
Bill turns and sees the boy, and loses his
complexion and sits down plump on the
ground and begins to pluck aimlessly at grass
and little sticks. For an hour I was afraid
of his mind. And then I told him that my
scheme was to put the whole job through
immediately and that we would get the ran-
som and be off with it by midnight if old
Dorset fell in with our proposition. So Bill
'2o The Ransom of Red Chief
braced up enough to give the kid a weak sort
of a smile and a promise to play the Russian
in a Japanese war with him as soon as he felt
a little better.
I had a scheme for collecting that ransom
without danger of being caught by counter-
plots that ought to commend itself to pro-
fessional kidnappers. The tree under which
the answer was to be left and the money
later on was close to the road fence with big,
bare fields on all sides. If a gang of con-
stables should be watching for any one to
come for the note they could see him a long
way off crossing the fields or in the road. But
no, sirree! At half-past eight I was up in
that tree as well hidden as a tree toad, waiting
for the messenger to arrive.
Exactly on time, a half-grown boy rides
up the road on a bicycle, locates the paste-
board box at the foot of the fence-post, slips
a folded piece of paper into it and pedals away
again back toward Summit.
I waited an hour and then concluded the
thing was square. I slid down the tree, got
the note, slipped along the fence till I struck
the woods, and was back at the cave in an-
other half an hour. I opened the note, got
The Ransom of Red Chief 21
near the lantern and read it to Bill. It was
written with a pen in a crabbed hand, and the
sum and substance of it was this:
Two DESPERATE MEN.
GENTLEMEN: I received your letter to-day by post,
in regard to the ransom you ask for the return of my
son. I think you are a little high in your demands,
and I hereby make you a counter-proposition, which
I am inclined to believe you will accept. You bring
Johnny home and pay me two hundred and fifty dollars
in cash, and I agree to take him off your hands. You
had better come at night, for the neighbours believe
he is lost, and I couldn't be responsible for what they
would do to anybody they saw bringing him back.
"Great pirates of Penzance!" says I; "of
all the impudent
But I glanced at Bill, and hesitated. He
had the most appealing look in his eyes I
ever saw on the face of a dumb or a talking
"Sam," says he, "what's two hundred and
fifty dollars, after all ? We've got the money.
One more night of this kid will send me to a
bed in Bedlam. Besides being a thorough
gentleman, I think Mr. Dorset is a spend-
22 The Ransom of Red Chief
thrift for making us such a liberal offer. You
ain't going to let the chance go, are you?"
"Tell you the truth, Bill/' says I, "this
little he ewe lamb has somewhat got on my
nerves, too. We'll take him home, pay the
ransom, and make our get-away."
We took him home that night. We got him
to go by telling him that his father had bought
a silver-mounted rifle and a pair of moccasins
for him, and we were going to hunt bears the
It was just twelve o'clock when we knocked
at Ebenezer's front door. Just at the mo-
ment when I should have been abstracting
the fifteen hundred dollars from the box under
the tree, according to the original proposition,
Bill was counting out two hundred and fifty
dollars into Dorset's hand.
When the kid found out we were going to
leave him at home he started up a howl like
a calliope and fastened himself as tight as a
leech to Bill's leg. His father peeled him away
gradually, like a porous plaster.
"How long can you hold him?" asks Bill.
"I'm not as strong as I used to be," says
old Dorset, "but I think I can promise you ten
The Ransom of Red Chief 23
"Enough," says Bill. "In ten minutes I
shall cross the Central, Southern, and Middle
Western States, and be legging it trippingly
for the Canadian border."
And, as dark as it was, and as fat as Bill
was, and as good a runner as I am, he was a
good mile and a half out of Summit before I
could catch up with him.
JIMMY HAYES AND MURIEL
SUPPER was over, and there had fallen
upon the camp the silence that accompanies
the rolling of corn-husk cigarettes. The water-
hole shone from the dark ea/th like a patch
of fallen sky. Coyotes yelped. Dull thumps
indicated the rocking-horse movements of
the hobbled ponies as they moved to fresh
grass. A half-troop of the Frontier Bat-
talion of Texas Rangers were distributed
about the fire.
A well-known sound the fluttering and
scraping of chaparral against wooden stir-
rups came from the thick brush above the
camp. The rangers listened cautiously. They
heard a loud and cheerful voice call out reas-
"Brace up, Muriel, old girl, we're 'most
there now! Been a long ride for ye, ain't
it, ye old antediluvian handful of animated
Jimmy Hayes and Muriel 25
carpet-tacks? Hey, now, quit a tryin' to
kiss me! Don't hold on to my neck so tight
this here paint hoss ain't any too shore-
footed, let me tell ye. He's liable to dump us
both off if we don't watch out."
Two minutes of waiting brought a tired
"paint" pony single-footing into camp. A
gangling youth of twenty lolled in the saddle.
Of the "Muriel" whom he had been address-
ing, nothing was to be seen.
"Hi, fellows!" shouted the rider cheerfully.
"This here's a letter fer Lieutenant Manning."
He dismounted, unsaddled, dropped the
coils of his stake-rope, and got his hobbles
from the saddlehorn. While Lieutenant
Manning, in command, was reading the
letter, the newcomer rubbed solicitously at
some dried mud in the loops of the hobbles,
showing a consideration for the forelegs of
"Boys," said the lieutenant, waving his
hand to the rangers, "this is Mr. James Hayes.
He's a new member of the company. Cap-
tain McLean sends him down from El Paso.
The boys will see that you have some supper,
Hayes, as soon as you get your pony hobbled."
The recruit was received cordially by the'
26 Jimmy Hayes and Muriel
rangers. Still, they observed him shrewdly
and with suspended judgment. Picking a
comrade on the border is done with ten times
the care and discretion with which a girl
chooses a sweetheart. On your "side-kicker's"
nerve, loyalty, aim, and coolness your own
life may depend many times.
After a hearty supper Hayes joined the
smokers about the fire His appearance did
not settle all the questions in the minds
of his brother rangers. They saw simply a
loose, lank youth with tow-coloured, sun-
burned hair and a berry-brown, ingenuous
face that wore a quizzical, good-natured
"Fellows," said the new ranger, "I'm goin'
to interduce to you a lady friend of mine.
Ain't ever heard anybody call her a beauty,
but you'll all admit she's got some fine points
about her. Come along, Muriel!"
He held open the front of his blue flannel
shirt. Out of it crawled a horned frog. A
bright red ribbon was tied jauntily around its
spiky neck. It crawled to its owner's knee
and sat there, motionless.
! 'This here Muriel," said Hayes, with an
oratorical wave of his hand, "has got qualities.
Jimmy Hayes and Muriel 27
She never talks back, she always stays at
home, and she's satisfied with one red dress
for every day and Sunday, too."
"Look at that blame insect!" said one of
the rangers with a grin. " I've seen plenty
of them horny frogs, but I never knew any-
body to have one for a side-partner. Does
the blame thing know you from anybody
"Take it over there and see/' said Hayes.
The stumpy little lizard known as the
horned frog is harmless. He has the hide-
ousness of the prehistoric monsters whose
reduced descendant he is, but he is gentler
than the dove.
The ranger took Muriel from Hayes's
knee and went back to his seat on a roll of
blankets. The captive twisted and clawed
and struggled vigorously in his hand. After
holding it for a moment or two, the ranger
set it upon the ground Awkwardly but
swiftly the frog worked its four oddly mov-
ing legs until it stopped close by Hayes's
"Well, dang my hide!" said the other
ranger. "The little cuss knows you. Never
thought them insects had that much sense V
28 Jimmy Hayes and Muriel
Jimmy Hayes became a favourite in the
ranger camp. He had an endless store of
good nature, and a mild, perennial quality
of humour that is well adapted to camp life.
He was never without his horned frog. In
the bosom of his shirt during rides, on his
knee or shoulder in camp, under his blankets
at night, the ugly little beast never left him.
Jimmy was a humourist of a type that pre-
vails in the rural South and West. Unskilled
in originating methods of amusing or in witty
conceptions, he had hit upon a comical idea
and clung to it reverently. It had seemed
to Jimmy a very funny thing to have about
his person, with which to amuse his friends,
a tame horned frog with a red ribbon around
its neck. As it was a happy idea, why not
The sentiments existing between Jimmy and
the frog cannot be exactly determined. The
capability of the horned frog for lasting af-
fection is a subject upon which we have had
no symposiums. It is easier to guess Jimmy's
feelings. Muriel was his chef d'ceuvre of wit,
Jimmy Hayes and Muriel 29
and as such he cherished her. He caught
flies for her, and shielded her from sudden
northers. Yet his care was half selfish, and
when the time came she repaid him a thousand
fold. Other Muriels have thus overbalanced
the light attentions of other Jimmies.
Not at once did Jimmy Hayes attain full
brotherhood with his comrades. They loved
him for his simplicity and drollness, but there
hung above him a great sword of suspended
judgment. To make merry in camp is not
all of a ranger's life. There are horse-thieves
to trail, desperate criminals to run down,
bravos to battle with, bandits to rout out of
the chaparral, peace and order to be com-
pelled at the muzzle of a six-shooter. Jimmy
had been " 'most generally a cow-puncher,"
he said; he was inexperienced in ranger
methods of warfare. Therefore the ranger
speculated apart and solemnly as to how he
would stand fire. For, let it be known, the
honour and pride of each ranger company is
the individual bravery of its members.
For two months the border was quiet. The
rangers lolled, listless, in camp. And then-
bringing joy to the rusting guardians of the
frontier Sebastiano Saldar, an eminent Mex-
30 Jimmy Hayes and Muriel
ican desperado and cattle-thief, crossed the
Rio Grande with his gang and began to lay
waste the Texas side. There were indications
that Jimmy Hayes would soon have the op-
portunity to show his mettle. The rangers
patrolled with alacrity, but Saldar's men
were mounted like Lochinvar, and were hard
One evening, about sundown, the rangers
halted for supper after a long ride. Their
horses stood panting, with their saddles on.
The men were frying bacon and boiling coffee.
Suddenly, out of the brush, Sebastiano Sal-
dar and his gang dashed upon them with
blazing six-shooters and high- voiced yells.
It was a neat surprise. The rangers swore
in annoyed tones, and got their Winchesters
busy; but the attack was only a spectacular
dash of the purest Mexican type. After the
florid demonstration the raiders galloped away,
yelling, down the river. The rangers mounted
and pursued; but in less than two miles the
fagged ponies laboured so that Lieutenant
Manning gave the word to abandon the chase
and return to the camp.
Then it was discovered that Jimmy Hayes
was missing. Some one remembered having
Jimmy Hayes and Muriel 31
seen him run for his pony when the attack
began, but no one had set eyes on him since.
Morning came, but no Jimmy. They searched
the country around, on the theory that he
had been killed or wounded, but without suc-
cess. Then they followed after Saldar's gang,
but it seemed to have disappeared. Manning
concluded that the wily Mexican had re-
crossed the river after his theatric farewell.
And, indeed, no further depredations from him
This gave the rangers time to nurse a sore-
ness they had. As has been said, the pride
and honour of the company is the individual
bravery of its members. And now they be-
lieved that Jimmy Hayes had turned coward
at the whiz of Mexican bullets. There was
no other deduction. Buck Davis pointed
out that not a shot was fired by Saldar's
gang after Jimmy was seen running for his
horse. There was no way for him to have
been shot. No, he had fled from his first
fight, and afterward he would not return,
aware that the scorn of his comrades would be
a worse thing to face than the muzzles of
So Manning's detachment of McLean's
32 Jimmy Hayes and Muriel
company, Frontier Battalion, was gloomy.
It was the first blot on its escutcheon. Never
before in the history of the service had a
ranger shown the white feather. All of them
had liked Jimmy Hayes, and that made it
Days, weeks, and months went by, and
still that little cloud of unforgotten cowardice
hung above the camp.
Nearly a year afterward after many camp-
ing grounds and many hundreds of miles
guarded and defended Lieutenant Manning,
with almost the same detachment of men,
was sent to a point only a few miles below
their old camp on the river to look after some
smuggling there. One afternoon, while they
were riding through a dense mesquite flat,
they came upon a patch of open hog-wallow
prairie. There they rode upon the scene of an
In a big hog-wallow lay the skeletons of
three Mexicans. Their clothing alone served
to identify them. The largest of the figures
had once been Sebastiano Saldar. His great,
costly sombrero, heavy with gold ornamenta-
Jimmy Hayes and Muriel 33
tion a hat famous all along the Rio Grande
lay there pierced by three bullets. Along
the ridge of the hog-wallow rested the rusting
Winchester of the Me'xicans all pointing in
the same direction.
The rangers rode in that direction for fifty
yards. There, in a little depression of the
ground, with his rifle still bearing upon the
three, lay another skeleton. It had been a
battle of extermination. There was nothing
to identify the solitary defender. His cloth-
ing such as the elements had left distin-
guishable seemed to be of the kind that any
ranchman or cowboy might have worn.
"Some cow-puncher," said Manning, "that
they caught out alone. Good boy! He put
up a dandy scrap before they got him. So
that's why we didn't hear from Don Sebas-
tiano any more!"
And then, from beneath the weather-
beaten rags of the dead man, there wriggled
out a horned frog with a faded red ribbon
around its neck, and sat upon the shoulder
of its long quiet master. Mutely it told
the story of the untried youth and the swift
"paint" pony how they had outstripped all
their comrades that day in the pursuit of the
34 Jimmy Hayes and Muriel
Mexican raiders, and how the boy had gone
down upholding the honour of the company.
The ranger troop herded close, and a si-
multaneous wild yell arose from their' lips.
The outburst was at once a dirge, an apology,
an epitaph, and a paean of triumph. A strange
requiem, you may say, over the body of a
fallen comrade; but if Jimmy Hayes could
have heard it he would have understood.
A TECHNICAL ERROR
I NEVER cared especially for feuds, believing
them to be even more overrated products of
our country than grapefruit, scrapple, or
honeymoons. Nevertheless, if I may be
allowed, I will tell you of an Indian Territory
feud of which I was press-agent, camp-
follower, and inaccessory during the fact.
I was on a visit to Sam Durkee's ranch,
where I had a great time falling off un-
manicured ponies and waving my bare hand
at the lower jaws of wolves about two miles
away. Sam was a hardened person of about
twenty-five, with a reputation for going
home in the dark with perfect equanimity,
though often with reluctance.
Over in the Creek Nation was a family
bearing the name of Tatum. I was told that
the Durkees and Tatums had been feuding
for years. Several of each family had bitten
the grass, and it was expected that more
36 A Technical Error
Nebuchadnezzars would follow. A younger
generation of each family was growing up,
and the grass was keeping pace with them.
But I gathered that they had fought fairly;
that they had not lain in cornfields and aimed
at the division of their enemies' suspenders
in the back partly, perhaps, because there
were no cornfields, and nobody wore more
than one suspender. Nor had any woman or
child of either house ever been harmed. In
those days and you will find it so yet
their women were safe.
Sam Durkee had a girl. (If it were an all-
fiction magazine that I expect to sell this
story to, I should say, "Mr. Durkee rejoiced
in a fiancee.") Her name was Ella Baynes.
They appeared to be devoted to each other,
and to have perfect confidence in each other,
as all couples do who are and have or aren't
and haven't. She was tolerably pretty,
with a heavy mass of brown hair that helped
her along. He introduced me to her, which
seemed not to lessen her preference for him; so
I reasoned that they were surely soul mates.
Miss Baynes lived in Kingfisher, twenty
miles from the ranch. Sam lived on a gallop
between the two places.
A Technical Error 37
One day there came to Kingfisher a cour-
ageous young man, rather small, with smooth
face and regular features. He made many
inquiries about the business of the town, and
especially of the inhabitants cognominally. He
said he was from Muscogee, and he looked
it, with his yellow shoes and crocheted four-
in-hand. I met him once when I rode in for
the mail. He said his name was Beverly
Travers, which seemed rather improbable.
There were active times on the ranch, just
then, and Sam was too busy to go to town
often. As an incompetent and generally
worthless guest, it devolved upon me to ride
in for little things such as post cards, barrels
of flour, baking-powder, smoking-tobacco, and
letters from Ella.
One day, when I was messenger for half a
gross of cigarette papers and a couple of
wagon tires, I saw the alleged Beverly Travers
in a yellow-wheeled buggy with Ella Baynes,
driving about town as ostentatiously as the
black, waxy mud would permit. I knew
that this information would bring no balm of
Gilead to Sam's soul, so I refrained from
including it in the news of the city that I
retailed on my return. But on the next
38 A Technical Error
afternoon an elongated ex-cowboy of the
name of Simmons, an oldtime pal of Sam's
who kept a feed store in Kingfisher, rode
out to the ranch and rolled and burned many
cigarettes before he would talk. When he
did make oration, his words were these:
"Say, Sam, there's been a description of a
galoot miscallin' himself Bevel-edged Travels
impairing the atmospheric air of Kingfisher
for the past two weeks. You know who he
was ? He was not otherwise than Ben Tatum,
from the Creek Nation, son of old Gopher
Tatum that your Uncle Newt shot last
February. You know what he done this
morning? He killed your brother Lester-
shot him in the co't-house yard."
I wonder if Sam had heard. He pulled a
twig from a mesquite bush, chewed it gravely,
"He did, did he? He killed Lester?"
"The same," said Simmons. "And he did
more. He run away with your girl, the
same as to say Miss Ella Baynes. I thought
you might like to know, so I rode out to
impart the information."
"I am much obliged, Jim," said Sam,
taking the chewed twig from his mouth.
A Technical Error 39
J'Yes, I'm glad you rode out. Yes, I'm
"Well, I'll be ridin' back, I reckon. That
boy I left in the feed store don't know hay
from oats. He shot Lester in the back. 9 '
"Shot him in the back?"
"Yes, while he was hitchin' his'hoss."
"I'm much obliged, Jim."
"I kind of thought you'd like to know as
soon as you could."
"Come in and have some coffee before you
ride back, Jim?"
"Why, no, I reckon not; I must get back
to the store."
"And you say "
"Yes, Sam. Everybody seen 'em drive
away together in a buckboard, with a big
bundle, like clothes, tied up in the back of it.
He was drivin' the team he brought over
with him from Muscogee. They'll be hard
to overtake right away."
" I was goin' on to tell you. They left on
the Guthrie road; but there's no tellin'
which forks they'll take you know that."
"All right, Jim; much obliged."
"You're welcome, Sam."
4O A Technical Error
Simmons rolled a cigarette and stabbed his
pony with both heels. Twenty yards away
he reined up and called back:
"You don't want no assistance, as you
"Not any, thanks."
"I didn't think you would. Well, so long!"
Sam took out and opened a bone-handled
pocket-knife and scraped a dried piece of mud
from his left boot. I thought at first he was
going to swear a vendetta on the blade of it,
or recite "The Gipsy's Curse." The few
feuds I had ever seen or read about usually
opened that way. This one seemed to be
presented with a new treatment. Thus
offered on the stage, it would have been
hissed off, and one of Belasco's thrilling
melodramas demanded instead.
"I wonder," said Sam, with a profoundly
thoughtful expression, "if the cook has any
cold beans left over!"
He called Wash, the Negro cook, and finding
that he had some, ordered him to heat up the
pot and make some strong coffee. Then we
went into Sam's private room, where he slept,
and kept his armoury, dogs, and the saddles
A Technical Error 41
of his favourite mounts. He took three or
four six-shooters out of a bookcase and began
to look them over, whistling "The Cowboy's
Lament" abstractedly. Afterward he ordered
the two best horses on the ranch saddled and
tied to the hitching-post.
Now, in the feud business, in all sections
of the country, I have observed that in one
particular there is a delicate but strict eti-
quette belonging. You must not mention
the word or refer to the subject in the presence
of a feudist. It would be more reprehensible
than commenting upon the mole on the
chin of your rich aunt. I found, later on,
that there is another unwritten rule, but I
think that belongs solely to the West.
It yet lacked two hours to supper-time;
but in twenty minutes Sam and I were
plunging deep into the reheated beans, hot
coffee, and cold beef.
"Nothing like a good meal before a long
ride," said Sam. "Eat hearty."
I had a sudden suspicion.
"Why did you have two horses saddled?"
"One, two one, two," said Sam. "You
can count, can't you?"
42 A Technical Error
His mathematics carried with it a mo-
mentary qualm and a lesson. The thought
had not occurred to him that the thought
could possibly occur to me not to ride at his
side on that red road to revenge and justice.
It was the higher calculus. I was booked for
the trail. I began to eat more beans.
In an hour we set forth at a steady gallop
eastward. Our horses were Kentucky-bred,
strengthened by the mesquite grass of the
west. Ben Tatum's steeds may have been
swifter, and he had a good lead, but if he
had heard the punctual thuds of the hoofs of
those trailers of ours, born in the heart of
feudland, he might have felt that retribution
was creeping up on the hoof-prints of his
I knew that Ben Tatum's card to play was
flight flight until he came within the safe
territory of his own henchmen and supporters.
He knew that the man pursuing him would
follow the trail to any end where it might lead.
During the ride Sam talked of the prospect
for rain, of the price of beef, and of the
musical glasses. You would have thought
he had never had a brother or a sweetheart
or an enemy on earth. There are some sub.
A Technical Error 43
jects too big even for the words in the "Un-
abridged." Knowing this phase of the feud
code, but not having practised it sufficiently,
I overdid the thing by telling some slightly
funny anecdotes. Sam laughed at exactly the
right place laughed with his mouth. When
I caught sight of his mouth, I wished I had
been blessed with enough sense of humour to
have suppressed those anecdotes.
Our first sight of them we had in Guthrie.
Tired and hungry, we stumbled, unwashed,
into a little yellow-pine hotel and sat at a
table. In the opposite corner we saw the
fugitives. They were bent upon their meal,
but looked around at times uneasily.
The girl was dressed in brown one of
these smooth, half-shiny, silky-looking affairs
with lace collar and cuffs, and what I believe
they call an accordion-plaited skirt. She
wore a thick brown veil down to her nose,
and a broad-brimmed straw hat with some
kind of feathers adorning it. The man wore
plain, dark clothes, and his hair was trimmed
very short. He was such a man as you
might see anywhere.
There they were the murderer and the
woman he had stolen. There we were the
44 A Technical Error
rightful avenger, according to the code, and
the supernumerary who writes these words.
For one time, at least, in the heart of the
supernumerary there rose the killing instinct.
For one moment he joined the force of com-
"What are you waiting for, Sam?" I said
in a whisper. "Let him have it now!"
Sam gave a melancholy sigh.
"You don't understand; but he does," he
said. "He knows. Mr. Tenderfoot, there's a
rule out here among white men in the Nation
that you can't shoot a man when he's with a
woman. I never knew it to be broke yet.
You cant do it. You've got to get him in a
gang of men or by himself. That's why. He
knows it, too. We all know. So, that's Mr.
Ben Tatum! One of the ' pretty men'! I'll
cut him out of the herd before they leave the
hotel, and regulate his account!"
After supper the flying pair disappeared
quickly. Although Sam haunted lobby and
stairway and halls half the night, in some
mysterious way the fugitives eluded him ; and
in the morning the veiled lady in the brown
dress with the accordion-plaited skirt and the
dapper young man with the close-clipped
A Technical Error 45
hair, and the blackboard with the prancing
nags, were gone.
It is a monotonous story, that of the ride;
so it shall be curtailed. Once again we over-
took them on a road. We were about fifty
yards behind. They turned in the buckboard
and looked at us; then drove on without
whipping up their horses. Their safety no
longer lay in speed. Ben Tatum knew. He
knew that the only rock of safety left to him
was the code. There is no doubt that, had
he been alone, the matter would have been
settled quickly with Sam Durkee in the usual
way; but he had something at his side that
kept still the trigger-finger of both. It
seemed likely that he was no coward.
So, you may perceive that woman, on
occasions, may postpone instead of precipi-
tating conflict between man and man. But
not willingly or consciously. She is oblivious
Five miles farther we came upon the future
great Western city of Chandler. The horses
of pursuers and pursued were starved and
weary. There was one hotel that offered
danger to man and entertainment to beast;
46 A Technical Error
so the four of us met again in the dining room
at the ringing of a bell so resonant and large
that it had cracked the welkin long ago. The
dining room was not as large as the one at
Just as we were eating apple pie how Ben
Davises and tragedy impinge upon each
other! I noticed Sam looking with keen
intentness at our quarry where they were
seated at a table across the room. The girl
still wore the brown dress with lace collar
and cuffs, and the veil drawn down to her
nose. The man bent over his plate, with his
close-cropped head held low.
"There's a code," I heard Sam say, either
to me or to himself, "that won't let you
shoot a man in the company of a woman;
but, by thunder, there ain't one to keep you
from killing a woman in the company of a
And, quicker than my mind could follow
his argument, he whipped a Colt's automatic
from under his left arm and pumped six
bullets into the body that the brown dress
covered the brown dress with the lace collar
and cuffs and the accordion-plaited skirt.
The young person in the dark sack suit.
A Technical Error 47
from whose head and from whose life a
woman's glory had been clipped, laid her
head on her arms stretched upon the table;
while people came running to raise Ben
Tatum from the floor in his feminine masquer-
ade that had given Sam the opportunity to
set aside, technically, the obligations of the
THE REFORMATION OF CALLIOPE
CALLIOPE CATESBY was in his humours
again. Ennui was upon him. This goodly
promontory, the earth particularly that por-
tion of it known as Quicksand was to him
no more than a pestilent congregation of
favours. Overtaken by the megrims, the
philosopher may seek relief in soliloquy; my
lady find solace in tears; the flaccid East-
erner scold at the millinery bills of his women
folk. Such recourse was insufficient to the
denizens of Quicksand. Calliope, especially,
was wont to express his ennui according to
Over night Calliope had hung out signals
of approaching low spirits. He had kicked
his own dog on the porch of the Occidental
Hotel, and refused to apologise. He had
become capricious and fault-finding in con-
versation. While strolling about he reached
often for twigs of mesquite and chewed the
The Reformation of Calliope 49
leaves fiercely. That was always an ominous
act. Another symptom alarming to those
who were familiar with the different stages
of his doldrums was his increasing politeness
and a tendency to use formal phrases. A
husky softness succeeded the usual penetrat-
ing drawl in his tones. A dangerous courtesy
marked his manners. Later, his smile be-
came crooked, the left side of his mouth slant-
ing upward, and Quicksand got ready to
stand from under.
At this stage Calliope generally began to
drink. Finally, about midnight, he was seen
going homeward, saluting those whom he
met with exaggerated but inoffensive courtesy.
Not yet was Calliope's melancholy at the
danger point. He would seat himself at the
window of the room he occupied over Silves-
ter's tonsorial parlours and there chant lu-
gubrious and tuneless ballads until morning,
accompanying the noises by appropriate mal-
treatment of a jingling guitar. More mag-
nanimous than Nero, he would thus give
musical warning of the forthcoming munici-
pal upheaval that Quicksand was scheduled
A quiet, amiable man was Calliope Catesby
50 The Reformation of Calliope^
at other times quiet to indolence, and ami-
able to worthlessness. At best he was a loafer
and a nuisance; at worst he was the Terror
of Quicksand. His ostensible occupation was
something subordinate in the real estate line;
he drove the beguiled Easterner in buck-
boards out to look over lots and ranch prop-
erty. Originally he came from one of the
Gulf States, his lank six feet, slurring rhythm
of speech, and sectional idioms giving evidence
of his birthplace.
And yet, after taking on Western adjust-
ments, this languid pine-box whittler, cracker-
barrel hugger, shady corner lounger of the
cotton fields and sumac hills of the South
became famed as a bad man among men who
had made a life-long study of the art of trucu-
At nine the next morning Calliope was fit.
Inspired by his own barbarous melodies and
the contents of his jug, he was ready primed
to gather fresh laurels from the diffident
brow of Quicksand. Encircled and criss-
crossed with cartridge belts, abundantly gar-
nished with revolvers, and copiously drunk,
he poured forth into Quicksand's main street.
Too chivalrous to surprise and capture a
The Reformation of Calliope 5 1
town by silent sortie, he paused at the nearest
corner and emitted his slogan that fearful,
brassy yell, so reminiscent of the steam piano,
that had gained for him the classic appellation
that had superseded his own baptismal name.
Following close upon his vociferation came
three shots from his forty-five by way of lim-
bering up the guns and testing his aim. A
yellow dog, the personal property of Colonel
Swazey, the proprietor of the Occidental, fell
feet upward in the dust with one farewell yelp.
A Mexican who was crossing the street from
the Blue Front grocery, carrying in his hand a
bottle of kerosene, was stimulated to a sudden
and admirable burst of speed, still grasping
the neck of the shattered bottle. The new
gilt weathercock on Judge Riley J s lemon and
ultramarine two-story residence shivered, flap-
ped, and hung by a splinter, the sport of the
The artillery was in trim. Calliope's hand
was steady. The high, calm ecstasy of ha-
bitual battle was upon him, though slightly
embittered by the sadness of Alexander in
that his conquests were limited to the small
world of Quicksand.
Down the street went Calliope, shooting
52 The Reformation of Calliope
right and left. Glass fell like hail; dogs
vamosed; chickens flew, squawking; feminine
voices shrieked concernedly to youngsters at
large. The din was perforated at intervals
by the staccato of the Terror's guns, and was
drowned periodically by the brazen screech
that Quicksand knew so well. The occasions
of Calliope's low spirits were legal holidays in
Quicksand. All along the main street in
advance of his coming clerks were putting up
shutters and closing doors. Business would
languish for a space. The right of way was
Calliope'*s, and as he advanced, observing the
dearth of opposition and the few opportunities
for distraction, his ennui perceptibly increased.
But some four squares farther down lively
preparations were being made to minister to
Mr. Catesby's love for interchange of com-
pliments and repartee. On the previous night
numerous messengers had hastened tc advise
Buck Patterson, the city marshal, of Calliope's
impending eruption. The patience of that
official, often strained in extending leniency
toward the disturber's misdeeds, had been
overtaxed. In Quicksand some indulgence was
accorded the natural ebullition of human
nature. Providing that the lives of the more
The Reformation of Calliope 53
useful citizens were not recklessly squandered,
or too much property needlessly laid waste,
the community sentiment was against a too
strict enforcement of the law. But Calliope
had raised the limit. His outbursts had been
too frequent and too violent to come within
the classification of a normal and sanitary
relaxation of spirit.
Buck Patterson had been expecting and
awaiting in his little ten-by-twelve frame
office that preliminary yell announcing that
Calliope was feeling blue. When the signal
came the City Marshal rose to his feet and
buckled on his guns. Two deputy sheriffs
and three citizens who had proven the edible
qualities of fire also stood up, ready to bandy
with Calliope's leaden jocularities.
" Gather that fellow in," said Buck Pat-
terson, setting forth the lines of the campaign.
" Don't have no talk, but shoot as soon as you
can get a show. Keep behind cover and
bring him down. He's a nogood 'un. It's
up to Calliope to turn up his toes this time, I
reckon. Go to him all spraddled out, boys.
And don't git too reckless, for what CaJliope
shoots at he hits."
Buck Patterson, tall, muscular, and solemn-
54 The Reformation of Calliope
faced, with his bright "City Marshal" badge
shining on the breast of his blue flannel shirt,
gave his posse directions for the onslaught
upon Calliope. The plan was to accomplish
the downfall of the Quicksand Terror without
loss to the attacking party, 'if possible.
The splenetic Calliope, unconscious of re-
tributive plots, was steaming down the chan-
nel, cannonading on either side, when he sud-
denly became aware of breakers ahead. The
city marshal and one of the deputies rose
up behind some dry-goods boxes half a square
to the front and opened fire. At the same
time the rest of the posse, divided, shelled
him from two side streets up which they were
cautiously manoeuvring from a well-executed
The first volley broke the lock of one of
Calliope's guns, cut a neat underbit in his
right ear, and exploded a cartridge in his
crossbelt, scorching his ribs as it burst. Feel-
ing braced up by this unexpected tonic to
his spiritual depression, Calliope executed a
fortissimo note from his upper register, and
returned the fire like an echo. The upholders
of the law dodged at his flash, but a trifle too
late to save one of the deputies a bullet just
The Reformation of Calliope 55
above the elbow, and the marshal a bleeding
cheek from a splinter that a ball tore from
the box he had ducked behind.
And now Calliope met the enemy's tactics
in kind. Choosing with a rapid eye the street
from which the weakest and least accurate
fire had come, he invaded it at a double-quick,
abandoning the unprotected middle of the
street. With rare cunning the opposing force
in that direction one of the deputies and two
of the valorous volunteers waited, con-
cealed by beer barrels, until Calliope had
passed their retreat, and then peppered him
from the rear. In another moment they
were reinforced by the marshal and his other
men, and then Calliope felt that in order to
successfully prolong the delights of the con-
:roversy he must find some means of reducing
the great odds against him. His eye fell
ipon a structure that seemed to hold out this
)romise, providing he could reach it.
Not far away was the little railroad station,
its building a strong box house, ten by twenty
feet, resting upon a platform four feet above
[round. Windows were in each of its walls.
unething like a fort it might become to a
in thus sorely pressed by superior numbers.
56 The Reformation of Calliope
Calliope made a bold and rapid spurt for it,
the marshal's crowd "smoking" him as he ran.
He reached the haven in safety, the station
agent leaving the building by a window, like a
flying squirrel, as the garrison entered the
Patterson and his supporters halted under
protection of a pile of lumber and held con-
sultations. In the station was an unterrified
desperado who was an excellent shot and
carried an abundance of ammunition. For
thirty yards on each side of the besieged was a
stretch of bare, open ground. It was a sure
thing that the man who attempted to enter
that unprotected area would be stopped by
one of Calliope's bullets.
The city marshal was resolved. He had
decided that Calliope Catesby should no more
wake the echoes of Quicksand with his strident
whoop. He had so announced. Officially
and personally he fejt imperatively bound to
put the soft pedal on that instrument of dis-
cord. It played bad tunes.
Standing near was a hand truck used in the
manipulation of small freight. It stood by a
shed full of sacked wool, a consignment from
one of the sheep ranches. On this truck the
The Reformation of Calliope 57
marshal and his men piled three heavy sacks
of wool. Stooping low, Buck Patterson started
for Calliope's fort, slowly pushing this loaded
truck before him for protection. The posse,
scattering broadly, stood ready to nip the
besieged in case he should show himself in an
effort to repel the juggernaut of justice that
was creeping upon him. Only once did Cal-
liope make demonstration. He fired from a
window, and some tufts of wool spurted from
the marshal's trustworthy bulwark. The re-
turn shots from the posse pattered against
the window frame of the fort. No loss re-
sulted on either side.
The marshal was too deeply engrossed in
steering his protected battleship to be aware
of the approach of the morning train until
he was within a few feet of the platform.
The train was coming up on the other side
of it. It stopped only one minute at Quick-
sand. What an opportunity it would offer
to Calliope! He had only to step out the
other door, mount the train, and away.
Abandoning his breastworks, Buck, with
his gun ready, dashed up the steps and into
the room, driving open the closed door with
one heave of his weighty shoulder. The
58 The Reformation of Calliope
members of the posse heard one shot fired in-
side, and then there was silence.
At length the wounded man opened his
eyes. After a blank space he again could
see and hear and feel and think. Turning
his eyes about, he found himself lying on a
wooden bench. A tall man with a perplexed
countenance, wearing a big badge with "City
Marshal" engraved upon it, stood over him.
A little old woman in black, with a wrinkled
face and sparkling black eyes, was holding a
wet handkerchief against one of his temples.
He was trying to get these facts fixed in his
mind and connected with past events, when
the old woman began to talk.
"There now, great, big, strong man! That
bullet never teched ye! Jest skeeted along
the side of your head and sort of paralyzed
ye for a spell. I've heerd of sech things afore;
cun-cussion is what they names it. Abel
Wadkins used to kill squirrels that way
barkin' em, Abe called it. You jest been
barked, sir, and you'll be all right in a little
bit. Feel lots better already, don't ye! You
just lay still a while longer and let me bathe
your head. You don't know me, I reckon,
and 'tain't surprisin' that you shouldn't. I
The Reformation of Calliope 59
come in on that train from Alabama to see my
son. Big son, ain't he ? Lands ! you wouldn't
hardly think he'd ever been a baby, would ye?
This is my son, sir."
Half turning, the old woman looked up
at the standing man, her worn face lighting
with a proud and wonderful smile. She
reached out one veined and calloused hand
and took one of her son's. Then smiling
cheerily down at the prostrate man, she con-
tinued to dip the handkerchief in the waiting-
room tin washbasin and gently apply it to
his temple. She had the benevolent garrulity
of old age.
" I ain't seen my son before," she continued,
"in eight years. One of my nephews, El-
kanah Price, he's a conductor on one of them
railroads and he got me a pass to come out
here. I can stay a whole week on it, and
then it'll take me back again. Jest think,
now, that little boy of rnine has got to be a
officer a city marshal of a whole town!
That's somethin' like a constable, ain't it?
I never knowed he was a officer: he didn't
say nothin' about it in his letters. I reckon
he thought his old mother'd be skeered about
the danger he was in. But, laws! I never
60 The Reformation of Calliope
was much of a hand to git skeered. 'Tain*t
no use. I heard them guns a-shootin' while
I was gittin''off them cars, and I see smoke a-
comin' out of the depot, but I jest walked
right along. Then I see son's face lookin'
out through the window. I knowed him at
oncet. He met me at the door, and squeezed
me 'most to death. And there you was, sir,
a-lyin' there jest like you was dead, and I
'lowed we'd see what might be done to help
sot you up."
"I think I'll sit up now," said the concussion
patient. " I'm feeling pretty fair by this time."
He sat, somewhat weakly yet, leaning
against the wall. He was a rugged man, big-
boned and straight. His eyes, steady and
keen, seemed to linger upon the face of the
man standing so still above him. His look
wandered often from the face he studied to
the marshal's badge upon the other's breast.
"Yes, yes, you'll be all right," said the old
woman, patting his arm, "if you don't get to
cuttin' up agin, and havin' folks shootin'
at you. Son told me about you, sir, while
you was layin' senseless on the floor. Don't
you take it as meddlesome fer an old woman
with a son as big as you to talk about it.
The Reformation of Calliope 6 1
And you mustn't hold no grudge ag'in my
son for havin' to shoot at ye. A officer has
got to take up for the law it's his duty
and them that acts bad and lives wrong
has to suffer. Don't blame my son any, sir
-'tain't his fault. He's always been a good
boy good when he was growin' up, and
kind and 'bedient and well-behaved. Won't
you let me advise you, sir, not to do so no
more? Be a good man, and leave liquor
alone and live peaceably and godly. Keep
away from bad company and work honest
and sleep sweet."
The black-mittened hand of the old pleader
gently touched the breast of the man she ad-
dressed. Very earnest and candid her old,
worn face looked. In her rusty black dress
and antique bonnet she sat, near the close of
a long life, and epitomized the experience of
the world. Still the man to whom she spoke
gazed above her head, contemplating the silent
son of the old mother.
"What does the marshal say?" he asked.
"Does he believe the advice is good? Sup-
pose the marshal speaks up and says if the
talk's all right?"
The tall man moved uneasily. He fingered
62 The Reformation of Calliope
the badge on his breast for a moment, and then
he put an arm around the old woman and drew
her close to him. She smiled the unchanging
mother smile of three-score years, and patted
his big brown hand with her crooked, mit-
tened fingers while her son spake.
" I says this," he said, looking squarely into
'the eyes of the other man, "that if I was in
your place I'd follow it. If I was a drunken,
desp'rate character, without shame or hope,
I'd follow it. If I was in your place and you
was in mine I'd say: 'Marshal, I'm willin' to
swear if you'll give me the chance I'll quit the
racket. I'll drop the tanglefoot and the gun-
play, and won't play hoss no more. I'll be
a good citizen and go to work and quit my
foolishness. So help me God!' That's what
I'd say to you if you was marshal and I was in
" Hear my son talkin 5 ," said the old woman
softly. " Hear him, sir. You promise to be
good and he won't do you no harm. Forty-
one year ago his heart first beat ag'in 5 mine,
and it's beat true ever since."
The other man rose to his feet, trying his
limbs and stretching his muscles.
"Then," said he, "if you was in my place
The Reformation of Calliope 63
and said that, and I was marshal, I'd say.
'Go free, and do your best to keep your
"Lawsy!" exclaimed the old woman, in a
sudden flutter, "ef I didn't clear forget that
trunk of mine ! I see a man settin' it on the
platform jest as I seen son's face in the win-
dow, and it went plum out of my head,
There's eight jars of home-made quince jam
in that trunk that I made myself. I wouldn't
have nothin' happen to them jars for a red
Away to the door she trotted, spry and
anxious, and then Calliope Catesby spoke out
to Buck Patterson:
"I just couldn't help it, Buck. I seen her
through the window a-comin' in. She never
had heard a word 'bout my tough ways. I
didn't have the nerve to let her know I was
a worthless cuss bein' hunted down by the
community. There you was lyin' where my
shot laid you, like you was dead. The idea
struck me sudden, and I just took your badge
off and fastened it onto myself, and I fastened
my reputation on'to you. I told her I was the
marshal and you was a holy terror. You can
take your badge back now, Buck."
64 The Reformation of Calliope
With shaking fingers Calliope began to un-
fasten the disc of metal from his shirt.
"Easy there!" said Buck Patterson. "You
keep that badge right where it is, Calliope
Catesby. Don't you dare to take it off till
the day your mother leaves this town. You'll
be city marshal of Quicksand as long as she's
here to know it. After I stir around town a
bit and put 'em on I'll guarantee that nobody
won't give the thing away to her. And say,
you leather-headed, rip-roarin', low-down son
of a locoed cyclone, you follow that advice she
give me! I'm goin' to take some of it myself,
"Buck," said Calliope feelingly, "ef I don't
I hope I may
"Shut up," said Buck. "She's a-comin'
JEFF PETERS AS A PERSONAL MAGNET
JEFF PETERS has been engaged in as many
schemes for making money as there are recipes
for cooking rice in Charleston, S. C.
Best of all I like to hear him tell of his earlier
days when he sold liniments and cough cures
on street corners, living hand to mouth, heart
to heart with the people, throwing heads or
tails with fortune for his last coin.
"I struck Fisher Hill, Arkansaw," said he,
"in a buckskin suit, moccasins, long hair, and
a thirty-carat diamond ring that I got from
an actor in Texarkana. I don't know what
he ever did with the pocket knife I swapped
him for it.
"I was Doctor Waugh-hoo, the celebrated
Indian medicine man. I carried only one
best bet just then, and that was Resurrection
Bitters. It was made of life-giving plants
and herbs accidentally discovered by Ta-qua-
la, the beautiful wife of the chief of the Choc-
66 Jeff Peters as a Personal Magnet
taw Nation, while gathering truck to garnish a
platter of boiled dog for the annual corn dance.
"Business hadn't been good at the last
town, so I only had five dollars. I went to
the Fisher Hill druggist and he credited me for
half a gross of eight-ounce bottles and corks.
I had the labels and ingredients in my valise,
left over from the last town. Life began to
look rosy again after I got in my hotel room
with the water running from the tap, and the
Resurrection Bitters lining up on the table by
"Fake? No, sir. There was two dollars'
worth of fluid extract of cinchona and a
dime's worth of aniline in that half-gross ol
bitters. I've gone through towns years after-
wards and had folks ask for 'em again.
" I hired a wagon that night and commenced
selling the bitters on Main Street. Fisher
Hill was a low, malarial town ; and a compound
hypothetical pneumo-cardiac anti-scorbutic
tonic was just what I diagnosed the crowd as
needing. The bitters started off like sweet-
breads-on-toast at a vegetarian dinner. I had
sold two dozen at fifty cents apiece when I felt
somebody pull my coat tail. I knew what
that meant; so I climbed down and sneaked a
Jeff Peters as a Personal Magnet 67
five-dollar bill into the hand of a man with a
German silver star on his lapel.
"'Constable/ says I, 'it's a fine night/
"Have you got a city license/ he asks, 'to
sell this illegitimate essence of spooju that you
flatter by the name of medicine?'
"'I have not/ says' I. 'I didn't know you
had a city. If I can find it to-morrow I'll take
one out if it's necessary/
'Til have to close you up till you do/ says
"I quit selling and went back to the hotel.
I was talking to the landlord about it.
f "0h, you won't stand no show in Fisher
Hill/ says he. 'Doctor Hoskins, the only
doctor here, is a brother-in-law of the Mayor,
and they won't allow no fake doctor to prac-
tice, in town/
: "I don't practice medicine/ says I, 'I've
got a State peddler's license, and I take out a
city one wherever they demand it/
"I went to the Mayor's office the next
morning and they told me he hadn't showed
up yet. They didn't know when he'd be
down. So Doc Waugh-hoo hunches down
again in a hotel chair and lights a jimpson-
weed regalia, and waits.
68 Jeff Peters as a Personal Magnet
" By and by a young man in a blue necktie
slips into the chair next to me and asks the
"Half-past ten/ says I, 'and you are Andy
Tucker. I've seen you work. Wasn't it you
that put up the Great Cupid Combination
package on the Southern States? Let's see,
it was a Chilian diamond engagement ring,
a wedding ring, a potato masher, a bottle of
soothing syrup and Dorothy Vernon all for
"Andy was pleased to hear that I remem-
bered him. He was a good street man; and he
was more than that he respected his pro-
fession, and he was satisfied with 300 per
cent, profit. He had plenty of offers to go into
the illegitimate drug and garden seed business;
but he was never to be tempted off of the
" I wanted a partner, so Andy and me agreed
to go out together. I told him about the
situation in Fisher Hill and how finances was
low on account of the local mixture of politics
and jalap. Andy had just got in on the train
that morning. He was pretty low himself,
and was going to canvass the town for a few
dollars to build a new battleship by popular
Jeff Peters as a Personal Magnet 69
subscription at Eureka Springs. So we went
out and sat on the porch and talked it over.
"The next morning at eleven o'clock when
I was sitting there alone, an Uncle Tom shuffles
into the hotel and asked for the doctor to
come and see Judge Banks, who, it seems, was
the mayor and a mighty sick man.
: 'Tm no doctor,' says I. 'Why don't you
go and get the doctor?'
"Boss/ says he, 'Doc Hoskins am done
gone twenty miles in de country to see some
sick persons. He's de only doctor in de town,
and Massa Banks am powerful bad off. He
sent me to ax you to please, suh, come.'
"As man to man,' says I, Til go and look
him over.' So I put a bottle of Resurrection
Bitters in my pocket and goes up on the hill
to the Mayor's mansion, the finest house in
town, with a mansard roof and two cast-iron
dogs on the lawn.
"This Mayor Banks was in bed all but his
whiskers and feet. He was making internal
noises that would have had everybody in
San Francisco hiking for the parks. A young
man was standing by the bed holding a cup
"Doc/ says the Mayor, 'I'm awful sick.
70 Jeff Peters as a Personal Magnet
I'm about to die. Can't you do nothing for
"'Mr. Mayor/ says I, 'I'm not a regular
preordained disciple of S. Q. Lapius. I never
took a course in a medical college,' says I.
Tve just come as a fellow man to see if I
could be of assistance/
"I'm deeply obliged,' says he. 'Doc
Waugh-hoo, this is my nephew, Mr. Biddle.
He has tried to alleviate my distress, but
without success. Oh, Lordy! Ow-ow-ow!!'
he sings out.
"I nods at Mr. Biddle and sets down by the
bed and feels the Mayor's pulse. 'Let me
see your liver your tongue, I mean,' says I.
Then I turns up the lids of his eyes and looks
close at the pupils of 'em.
"How long have you been sick?' I asked.
"I was taken down ow-ouch last night/
says the Mayor. 'Gimme something for it,
doc, won't you?'
"Mr. Fiddle/ says I, 'raise the window
shade a bit, will you?'
"Biddle/ says the young man. 'Do you
feel like you could eat some ham and eggs,
"'Mr. Mayor/ says I, after laying my ear
Jeff Peters as a Personal Magnet 71
to his right shoulder blade and listening,
'you've got a bad attack of super-inflammation
of the right clavicle of the harpsichord!'
"Good Lord !' says he, with a groan. 'Can't
you rub something on it, or set it or any-
" I picks up my hat and starts for the door.
'You ain't going, Doc?' says the Mayor
with a howl. 'You ain't going away and leave
me to die with this superfluity of the clap-
boards, are you?'
"Common 'humanity, Dr. Whoa-ha,' says
Mr. Biddle, 'ought to prevent your desert-
ing a fellow-human in distress/
"Dr. Waugh-hoo, when you get through
plowing,' says I. And then I walks back to
the bed and throws back my long hair.
'"Mr. Mayor,' says I, 'there is only one
hope for you. Drugs will do you no good.
But there is another power higher yet, al-
though drugs are high enough/ says I.
"'And what is that?' says he.
"Scientific demonstrations,' says I. 'The
triumph of mind over sarsaparilla. The be-
lief that there is no pain and sickness except
what is produced when we ain't feeling well.
Declare yourself in arrears. Demonstrate/
72 Jeff Peters as a Personal Magnet
"What is this paraphernalia you speak of,
Doc?' says the Mayor. 'You ain't a Social-
ist, are you?'
"'I am speaking,' says I, 'of the great
doctrine of psychic financiering of the en-
lightened school of long-distance, sub-con-
scientious treatment of fallacies and meningi-
tis of that wonderful indoor sport known as
personal magnetism. 5
"Can you work it, Doc?' asks the Mayor.
"I'm one of the Sole Sanhedrims and Os-
tensible Hooplas of the Inner Pulpit,' says I.
'The lame talk and the blind rubber when-
ever I make a pass at 'em. I am a medium,
a coloratura hypnotist, and a spirituous con-
trol. It was only through me at the recent
seances at Ann Arbor that the late president
of the Vinegar Bitters Company could revisit
the earth to communicate with his sister
Jane. You see me peddling medicine on the
streets/ says I, 'to the poor. I don't prac-
tice personal magnetism on them. I do not
drag it in the dust,' says I, 'because they
haven't got the dust.'
'"Will you treat my case?' asks the Mayor.
"'Listen,' says I. 'I've had a good deal of
trouble with medical societies everywhere I've
'/ made a jew passes with my hands. 'Now,' says /, 'the
inflammation's gone' "
Jeff Peters as a Personal Magnet 73
been. I don't practice medicine. But, to
save your life, I'll give you the psychic treat-
ment if you'll agree as mayor not to push the
"'Of course I will/ says he. 'And now get
to work, Doc, for them pains are coming on
"'My fee will be $250, cure guaranteed in
two treatments,' says I.
"'All right,' says the Mayor. Til pay it.
I guess my life's worth that much.'
"I sat down by the bed and looked him
straight in the eye.
"'Now,' says I, 'get your mind off the dis-
ease. You ain't sick. You haven't got a
heart or a clavicle or a funny bone or brains
or anything. You haven't got any pain.
Declare error. Now you feel the pain that
you didn't have leaving, don't you?'
'"I do feel some little better, Doc,' says the
Mayor, 'darned if I don't. Now state a few
lies about my not having this swelling in my
left side, and I think I could be propped up
and have some sausage and buckwheat cakes/
"I made a few passes with my hands.
"Now,' says I, 'the inflammation's gone.
The right lobe of the perihelion has subsided.
74 Jeff Peters as a Personal Magnet
You're getting sleepy. You can't hold your
eyes open any longer. For the present the
disease is checked. Now, you are asleep.'
"The Mayor shut his eyes slowly and began
"'You observe, Mr. Tiddle,' says I, 'the
wonders of modern science.'
" ' Biddle,' says he. 'When will you give uncle
the rest of the treatment, Dr. Poohpooh?'
"'Waugh-hoo,' says I. Til come back at
eleven to-morrow. When he wakes up give
him eight drops of turpentine and three
pounds of steak. Good-morning.'
"The next morning I went back on time.
'Well, Mr. Riddle,' says I, when he opened
the bedroom door, 'and how is uncle this
"'He seems much better,' says the young
"The Mayor's colour and pulse was fine. I
gave him another treatment, and he said the
last of the pain left him.
"'Now,' says I, 'you'd better stay in bed
for a day or two, and you'll be all right. It's
a good thing I happened to be in Fisher Hill,
Mr. Mayor,' says I, 'for all the remedies in
the cornucopia that the regular schools of
Jeff Peters as a Personal Magnet 75
medicine use couldn't have saved you. And
now that error has flew and pain proved a
perjurer, let's allude to a cheerfuller subject
say the fee of $250. No checks, please, I
hate to write my name on the back of a check
almost as bad as I do on the front.'
"I've got the cash here,' says the Mayor,
pulling a pocketbook from under his pillow.
"He counts out five fifty-dollar notes and
holds 'em in his hand.
"'Bring the receipt/ he says to Biddle.
"I signed the receipt and the Mayor handed
me the money. I put it in my inside pocket
"' Now do your duty, officer, 'says the Mayor,
grinning much unlike a sick man.
"Mr. Biddle lays his hand on my arm.
'You're under arrest, Dr. Waugh-hoo,
alias Peters/ says he, 'for practising medicine
without authority under the State law.'
"'Who are you?' I asks.
"Til tell you who he is/ says Mr. Mayor,
sitting up in bed. ' He's a detective employed
by the State Medical Society. He's been
following you over five counties. He came
to me yesterday and we fixed up this scheme
to catch you. I guess you won't do any
76 Jeff Peters as a Personal Magnet
more doctoring around these parts, Mr. Fakir.
What was it you said I had, Doc?' the Mayor
laughs, 'compound well, it wasn't softening
of the brain, I guess, anyway/
"'A detective/ says I.
"'Correct,' says Biddle. Til have to turn
you over to the sheriff.'
'"Let's see you do it,' says I, and I grabs
Biddle by the throat and half throws him out
the window, but he pulls a gun and sticks
it under my chin, and I stand still. Then
he puts handcuffs on me, and takes the money
out of my pocket.
'"I witness,' says he, 'that they're the same
bills that you and I marked, Judge Banks.
I'll turn them over to the sheriff when we get
to his office, and he'll send you a receipt.
They'll have to be used as evidence in the
"'All right, Mr. Biddle,' says the mayor.
'And now, Doc Waugh-hoo,' he goes on, 'why
don't you demonstrate ? Can't you pull the
cork out of your magnetism with your teeth
and hocus-pocus them handcuffs off?'
"'Come on, officer,' says I, dignified. 'I
may as well make the best of it/ And then I
turns to old Banks and rattles my chains.
Jeff Peters as a Personal Magnet
"'Mr. Mayor,' says I, 'the time will come
soon when you'll believe that personal mag-
netism is a success. And you'll be sure that it
succeeded in this case, too.'
"And I guess it did.
"When we got nearly to the gate, I says:
'We might meet somebody now, Andy. I
reckon you better take 'em off, and ' Hey?
Why, of course it was Andy Tucker. That
was his scheme; and that's how we got the
capital to go into business together."
ONE DOLLAR'S WORTH
THE judge of the United States court of the
district lying along the Rio Grande border
found the following letter one morning in his
When you sent me up for four years you made a
talk. Among other hard things, you called me a rattle-
snake. Maybe I am one anyhow, you hear me
rattling now. One year after I got to the pen, my
daughter died of well, they said it was poverty and
the disgrace together. You've got a daughter, Judge,
and I'm going to make you know how it feels to lose
one. And I'm going to bite that district attorney
that spoke against me. I'm free now, and I guess
I've turned to rattlesnake all right. I feel like one.
I don't say much, but this is my rattle. Look out
when I strike.
Judge Derwent threw the letter carelessly
aside. It was nothing new to receive such
epistles from desperate men whom he had
been called upon to judge. He felt no alarm.
One Dollar's Worth 79
Later on he showed the letter to Littlefield,
the young district attorney, for Littlefield's
name was included in the threat, and the
judge was punctilious in matters between him-
self and his fellowmen.
Littlefield honoured the rattle of the writer,
as far as it concerned himself, with a smile of
contempt; but he frowned a little over the
reference to the Judge's daughter, for he and
Nancy Derwent were to be married in the
Littlefield went to the clerk of the court and
looked over the records with him. They
decided that the letter might have been sent
by Mexico Sam, a half-breed border desperado
who had been imprisoned for manslaughter four
years before. Then official duties crowded
the matter from his mind, and the rattle of
the revengeful serpent was forgotten.
Court was in session at Brownsville. Most
of the cases to be tried were charges of smug-
gling, counterfeiting, post-office robberies, and
violations of Federal laws along the border.
One case was that of a young Mexican, Rafael
Ortiz, who had been rounded up by a clever
deputy marshal in the act of passing a counter-
feit silver dollar. He had been suspected of
8o One Dollar's Worth
^many such deviations from rectitude, but this-
was the first time that anything provable had
been fixed upon him. Ortiz languished cozily
in jail, smoking brown cigarettes and waiting
for trial. Kilpatrick, the deputy, brought the
counterfeit dollar and handed it to the district
attorney in his office in the court-house. The
deputy and a reputable druggist were pre-
pared to swear that Ortiz paid for a bottle of
medicine with it. The coin was a poor coun-
terfeit, soft, dull-looking, and made principally
of lead. It was the day before the morning
on which the docket would reach the case of
Ortiz, and the district attorney was preparing
himself for trial.
"Not much need of having in high-priced
experts to prove the coin's queer, is there,
Kil?" smiled Littlefield, as he thumped the
dollar down upon the table, where it fell with
no more ring than would have come from a
lump of putty.
" I guess the Greaser's as good as behind the
bars," said the deputy, easing up his holsters.
"You've got him dead. If it had been just
one time, these Mexicans can't tell good
money from bad; but this little yaller rascal
belongs to a gang of counterfeiters, I know.
One Dollar's Worth 81
This is the first time I've been able to catch
him doing the trick. He's got a girl down
there in them Mexican jacals on the river
bank. I seen her one day when I was watch-
ing him. She's as pretty as a red heifer in a
Littlefield shoved the counterfeit dollar
into his pocket, and slipped his memoranda
of the case into an envelope. Just then a
bright, winsome face, as frank and jolly as a
boy's, appeared in the doorway, and in
walked Nancy Derwent.
"Oh, Bob, didn't court adjourn at twelve to-
day until to-morrow?" she asked of Littlefield.
"It did," said the district attorney, "and
Fm very glad of it. I've got a lot of rulings
to look up, and
"Now, that's just like you. I wonder you
and father don't turn to law books or rulings
or something! I want you to take me out
plover-shooting this afternoon. Long Prairie
is just alive with them. Don't say no, please!
I want to try my new twelve-bore hammerless.
I've sent to the livery stable to engage Fly
and Bess for the buckboard; they stand fire
so nicely. I was sure you would go."
They were to be married in the fall. The
82 One Dollar's Worth
glamour was at its height. The plovers won
the day or, rather, the afternoon over the
calf-bound authorities. Littlefield began to
put his papers away.
There was a knock at the door. Kilpatrick
answered it. A beautiful, dark-eyed girl
with a skin tinged with the faintest lemon
colour walked into the room. A black shawl
was thrown over her head and wound once
around her neck.
She began to talk in Spanish, a voluble,
mournful stream of melancholy music. Lit-
tlefield did not understand Spanish. The
deputy did, and he translated her talk by por-
tions, at intervals holding up his hand to check
the flow of her words.
" She came to see you, Mr. Littlefield. Her
name's Joya Trevifias. She wants to see you
about well, she's mixed up with that Rafael
Ortiz. She's his she's his girl. She says
he's innocent. She says she made the money
and got him to pass it. Don't you believe
her, Mr. Littlefield. That's the way with
these Mexican girls; they'll lie, steal, or kill for
a fellow when they get stuck on him. Never
trust a woman that's in love!"
One Dollar's Worth 83
Nancy Derwent's indignant exclamation
caused the deputy to flounder for a moment
in attempting to explain that he had mis-
quoted his own sentiments, and then he went
on with the translation:
"She says she's willing to take his place in
the jail if you'll let him out. She says she
was down sick with the fever, and the doctor
said she'd die if she didn't have medicine.
That's why he passed the lead dollar on the
drug store. She says it saved her life. This
Rafael seems to be her honey, all right ; there's
a lot of stuff in her talk about love and such
things that you don't want to hear."
It was an old story to the district attorney.
"Tell her," said he, "that I can do nothing.
The case comes up in the morning, and he will
have to make his fight before the court."
Nancy Derwent was not so hardened. She
was looking with sympathetic interest at Joya
Trevinas and at Littlefield alternately. The
deputy repeated the district attorney's words
to the girl. She spoke a sentence or two in a
low voice, pulled her shawl closely about her
face, and left the room.
"What did she say then?" asked the dis-
84 One Dollar's Worth
"Nothing special," said the deputy. "She
said: 'If the life of the one' let's see how it
went 'Si la vida de ella a quien in amas if
the life of the girl you love is ever in danger,
remember Rafael Ortiz. 5 '
Kilpatrick strolled out through the corridor
in the direction of the marshal's office.
"Can't you do anything for them, Bob?"
asked Nancy. "It's such a little thing just
one counterfeit dollar to ruin the happiness
of two lives! She was in danger of death,
and he did it to save her. Doesn't the law
know the feeling of pity?"
"It hasn't a place in jurisprudence, Nan,"
said Littlefield, "especially in re the district
attorney's duty. I'll promise you that the
prosecution will not be vindictive; but the
man is as good as convicted when the case is
called. Witnesses will swear to his passing
the bad dollar which I have in my pocket at
this moment as ' Exhibit A/ There are no
Mexicans on the jury, and it will vote Mr.
Greaser guilty without leaving the box."
The plover-shooting was fine that after-
noon, and in the excitement of the sport the
case of Rafael and the grief of Joya Trevinas
One Dollar's Worth 85
was forgotten. The district attorney and
Nancy Derwent drove out from the town three
miles along a smooth, grassy road, and then
struck across a rolling prairie toward a heavy
line of timber on Piedra Creek. Beyond this
creek lay Long Prairie, the favourite haunt
of the plover. As they were nearing the
creek they heard the galloping of a horse to
their right, and saw a man with black hair
and a swarthy face riding toward the woods
at a tangent, as if he had come up behind
"I've seen that fellow somewhere," said
Littlefield, who had a memory for faces, "but
I can't exactly place him. Some ranchman,
I suppose, taking a short cut home."
They spent an hour on Long Prairie, shoot-
ing from the buckboard. Nancy Derwent,
an active, outdoor Western girl, was pleased
with her twelve-bore. She had bagged within
two brace of her companion's score.
They started homeward at a gentle trot.
When within a hundred yards of Piedra Creek
a man rode out of the timber directly toward
" It looks like the man we saw coming over,"
remarked Miss Derwent.
86 One Dollar's Worth
As the distance between them lessened, the
district attorney suddenly pulled up his team
sharply, with his eyes fixed upon the advanc-
ing horseman. That individual had drawn
a Winchester from its scabbard on his saddle
and thrown it over his arm.
"Now I know you, Mexico Sam!" muttered
Littlefield to himself. "It was you who shook
your rattles in that gentle epistle."
Mexico Sam did not leave things long in
doubt. He had a nice eye in all matters re-
lating to firearms, so when he was within
good rifle range, but outside of danger from
No. 8 shot, he threw up his Winchester and
opened fire upon the occupants of the buck-
The first shot cracked the back of the seat
within the two-inch space between the shoul-
ders of Littlefield and Miss Derwent. The
next went through the dashboard and Little-
field's trouser leg.
The district attorney hustled Nancy out
of the buckboard to the ground. She was a
little pale, but asked no questions. She had
the frontier instinct that accepts conditions
in an emergency without superfluous argu-
ment. They kept their guns in hand, and
One Dollar's Worth 87
Littlefield hastily gathered some handfuls of
cartridges from the pasteboard box on the
seat and crowded them into his pockets.
"Keep behind the horses, Nan," he com-
manded. "That fellow is a ruffian I sent to
prison once. He's trying to get even. He
knows our shot won't hurt him at that dis-
"All right, Bob," said Nancy steadily.
"I'm not afraid. But you come close, too.
Whoa, Bess; stand still, now!"
She stroked Bess's mane. Littlefield stood
with his gun ready, praying that the desperado
would come within range.
But Mexico Sam was playing his vendetta
along safe lines. He was a bird of different
feather from the plover. His accurate eye
drew an imaginary line of circumference
around the area of danger from bird-shot, and
upon this line he rode. His horse wheeled
to the right, and as his victims rounded to
the safe side of their equine breastwork he
sent a ball through the district attorney's hat.
Once he miscalculated in making a detour,
and overstepped his margin. Littlefield's gun
flashed, and Mexico Sam ducked his head to
the harmless patter of the shot. A few of
88 One Dollar's Worth
them stung his horse, which pranced promptly
back to the safety line.
The desperado fired again. A little cry
came from Nancy Derwent. Littlefield
whirled, with blazing eyes, and saw the blood
trickling down her cheek.
"I'm not hurt, Bob only a splinter struck
me. I think he hit one of the wheel-spokes."
"Lord!" groaned Littlefield. "If I only
had a charge of buckshot!"
The ruffian got his horse still, and took
careful aim. Fly gave a snort and fell in
the harness, struck in the neck. Bess, now
disabused of the idea that plover were being
fired at, broke her traces and galloped wildly
away. Mexico Sam sent a ball neatly
through the fulness of Nancy Derwent's
"Lie down lie down!" snapped Little-
field. " Close to the horse flat on the ground
so." He almost threw her upon the grass
against the back of the recumbent Fly.
Oddly enough, at that moment the words of
the Mexican girl returned to his mind:
"If the life of the girl you love is ever in
danger, remember Rafael Ortiz."
Littlefield uttered an exclamation.
One Dollar's Worth 89
"Open fire on him, Nan, across the horse's
back! Fire as fast as you can! You can't
hurt him, but keep him dodging shot for one
minute while I try to work a little scheme."
Nancy gave a quick glance at Littlefield,
and saw him take out his pocket-knife and
open it. Then she turned her face to obey
orders, keeping up a rapid fire at the enemy.
Mexico Sam waited patiently until this
innocuous fusillade ceased. He had plenty
of time, and he did not care to risk the chance
of a bird-shot in his eye when it could be avoided
by a little caution. He pulled his heavy
Stetson low down over his face until the
shots ceased. Then he drew a little nearer, and
fired with careful aim at what he could see
of his victims above the fallen horse.
Neither of them moved. He urged his
horse a few steps nearer. He saw the dis-
trict attorney rise to one knee and deliber-
ately level his shotgun. He pulled his hat
down and awaited the harmless rattle of the
The shotgun blazed with a heavy report.
Mexico Sam sighed, turned limp all over,
and slowly fell from his horse a dead rattle-
90 One Dollar's Worth
At ten o'clock the next morning court
opened, and the case of the United States
versus Rafael Ortiz was called. The district
attorney, with his arm in a sling, rose and
addressed the court.
"May it please your honour," he said, "I
desire to enter a nolle pros, in this case. Even
though the defendant should be guilty, there
is not sufficient evidence in the hands of the
government to secure a conviction. The
piece of counterfeit coin upon the identity
of which the case was built is not now avail-
able as evidence. I ask, therefore, that the
case be stricken off."
At the noon recess Kilpatrick strolled into
the district attorney's office.
"I've just been down to take a squint at
old Mexico Sam," said the deputy. " They've
got him laid out. Old Mexico was a tough
outfit, I reckon. The boys was wonderin'
down there what you shot him with. Some
said it must have been nails. I never see a
gun carry anything to make holes like he
"I shot him," said the district attorney,
"with Exhibit A of your counterfeiting case.
Lucky thing for me and somebody else
<0ne Dollar's Worth 91
that it was as bad money as it was ! It sliced
up into slugs very nicely. Say, Kil, can't
you go down to the jacals and find where
that Mexican girl lives ? Miss Derwent wants
A CHAPARRAL CHRISTMAS GIFT _
THE original cause of the trouble was about
twenty years in growing.
At the end of that time it was worth it.
Had you lived anywhere within fifty miles
of Sundown Ranch you would have heard of
it. It possessed a quantity of jet-black hair,
a pair of extremely frank, deep-brown eyes,
and a laugh that rippled across the prairie
like the sound of a hidden brook. The name
of it was Rosita McMullen; and she was the
daughter of old man McMullen of the Sun-
down Sheep Ranch.
There came riding on red roan steeds or,
to be more explicit, on a paint and a flea-
bitten sorrel two wooers. One was Madison
Lane, and the other was the Frio Kid. But
at that time they did not call him the Frio
Kid, for he had not earned the honours of
special nomenclature. His name was simply
A Chaparral Christmas Gift 93
It must not be supposed that these two were
the sum of the agreeable Rosita's admirers.
The bronchos of a dozen others champed their
bits at the long hitching rack of the Sundown
Ranch. Many were the sheep-eyes that were
cast in those savannas that did not belong to
the flocks of Dan McMullen. But of all the
cavaliers, Madison Lane and Johnny McRoy
galloped far ahead, wherefore they are to be
Madison Lane, a young cattleman from the
Nueces country, won the race. He and Rosita
were married one Christmas day. Armed,
hilarious, vociferous, magnanimous, the cow-
men and the sheepmen, laying aside their
hereditary hatred, joined forces to celebrate
Sundown Ranch was sonorous with the
cracking of jokes and sixshooters, the shine
of buckles and bright eyes, the outspoken
congratulations of the herders of kine.
But while the wedding feast was at its
liveliest there descended upon it Johnny
McRoy, bitten by jealousy, like one pos-
"I'll give you a Christmas present," he
yelled, shrilly, at the door, with his .45 in
94 A Chaparral Christmas Gift
his hand. Even then he had some reputation
as an offhand shot.
His first bullet cut a neat underbit in Mad-
ison Lane's right ear. The barrel of his gun
moved an inch. The next shot would have
been the bride's had not Carson, a sheepman,
possessed a mind with triggers somewhat well
oiled and in repair. The guns of the wedding
party had been hung, in their belts, upon
nails in the wall when they sat at table, as a
concession to good taste. But Carson, with
great promptness, hurled his plate of roast
venison and frijoles at McRoy, spoiling his
aim. The second bullet, then, only shattered
the white petals of a Spanish dagger flower
suspended two feet above Rosita's head.
The guests spurned their chairs and jumped
for their weapons. It was considered an im-
proper act to shoot the bride and groom at a
wedding. In about six seconds there were
twenty or so bullets due to be whizzing in the
direction of Mr. McRoy.
, "I'll shoot better next time," yelled Johnny;
"and there'll be a next time." He backed
rapidly out the door.
Carson, the sheepman, spurred on to at-
tempt further exploits by the success of his
A Chaparral Christmas Gift 95
plate-throwing, was first to reach the door.
McRoy's bullet from the darkness laid him
The cattlemen then swept out upon him,
calling for vengeance, for, while the slaughter
of a sheepman has not always lacked con-
donement, it was a decided misdemeanour in
this instance. Carson was innocent; he was
no accomplice at the matrimonial proceedings;
nor had any one heard him quote the line
"Christmas comes but once a year" to the
But the sortie failed in its vengeance.
McRoy was on his horse and away, shouting
back curses and threats as he galloped into the
That night was the birthnight of the Frio
Kid. He became the "bad man" of that por-
tion of the State. The rejection of his suit
by Miss McMullen turned him to a dangerous
man. When officers went after him for the
shooting of Carson, he killed two of them, and
entered upon the life of an outlaw. He be-
came a marvellous shot with either hand.
He would turn up in towns and settlements,
raise a quarrel at the slightest opportunity,
pick off his man, and laugh at the officers of the
96 A Chaparral Christmas Gift
law. He was so cool, so deadly, so rapid, so
inhumanly blood-thirsty that none but faint
attempts were ever made to capture him.
When he was at last shot and killed by a little
one-armed Mexican who was nearly dead him-
self from fright, the Frio Kid had the deaths
of eighteen men on his head. About half of
these were killed in fair duels depending upon
the quickness of the draw. The other half
were men whom he assassinated from absolute
wantonness and cruelty.
Many tales are told along the border of his
impudent courage and daring. But he was
not one of the breed of desperadoes who have
seasons of generosity and even of softness.
They say he never had mercy on the object of
his anger. Yet at this and every Christmas-
tide it is well to give each one credit, if it can
be done, for whatever speck of good he may
have possessed. If the Frio Kid ever did a
kindly act or felt a throb of generosity in his
heart it was once at such a time and season,
and this is the way it happened.
One who has been crossed in love should
never breathe the odour from the blossoms of
the ratama tree. It stirs the memory to a
A Chaparral Christmas Gift 97
One December in the Frio country there
was a ratama tree in full bloom, for the winter
had been as warm as springtime. That way
rode the Frio Kid and his satellite and co-
murderer, Mexican Frank. The kid reined in
his mustang, and sat in his saddle, thoughtful
and grim, with dangerously narrowing eyes.
The rich, sweet scent touched him somewhere
beneath his ice and iron.
"I don't know what I've been thinking
about, Mex," he remarked in his usual mild
drawl, "to have forgot all about a Christmas
present I got to give. I'm going to ride over
to-morrow night and shoot Madison Lane in
his own house. He got my girl Rosita
would have had me if he hadn't cut into the
game. I wonder why T happened to overlook
it up to now?"
"Ah, shucks, Kid," said Mexican, "don't
talk foolishness. You know you can't get
within a mile of Mad Lane's house to-morrow
night. I see old man Allen day before yester-
day, and he says Mad is going to have Christ-
mas doings at his house. You remember how
you shot up the festivities when Mad was
married, and about the threats you made?
Don't you suppose Mad Lane'll kind of keep
98 A Chaparral Christmas Gift
his eye open for a certain Mr. Kid? You
plumb make me tired, Kid, with such re-
"I'm going," repeated the Frio Kid, with-
out heat, "to go to Madison Lane's Christmas
doings, and kill him. I ought to have done it
a long time ago. Why, Mex, just two weeks
ago I dreamed me and Rosita was married
instead of her and him; and we was living in a
house, and I could see her smiling at me, and
oh! h 1, Mex, he got her; and I'll get
him yes, sir, on Christmas Eve he got her,
and then's when I'll get him."
"There's other ways of committing suicide,"
advised Mexican. ''Why don't you go and
surrender to the sheriff?"
"I'll get him," said the Kid.
Christmas Eve fell as balmy as April.
Perhaps there was a hint of far-away frostiness
in the air, but it tingled like seltzer, perfumed
faintly with late prairie blossoms and the mes-
When night came the five or six rooms of the
ranch-house were brightly lit. In one room
was a Christmas tree, for the Lanes had a
boy of three, and a dozen or more guests were
expected from the nearer ranches.
A Chaparral Christmas Gift 99
At nightfall Madison Lane called aside
Jim Belcher and three other cowboys em-
ployed on his ranch.
"Now, boys," said Lane, "keep your eyes
open. Walk around the house and watch the
road well. All of you know the Trio Kid,'
as they call him now, and if you see him, open
fire on him without asking any questions.
I'm not afraid of his coming around, but
Rosita is. She's been afraid he'd come in on
us every Christmas since we were married."
The guests had arrived in buckboards and
on horseback, and were making themselves
The evening went along pleasantly. The
guests enjoyed and praised Rosita's excellent
supper, and afterward the men scattered in
groups about the rooms or on the broad
" gallery," smoking and chatting.
The Christmas tree, of course, delighted the
youngsters, and above all were they pleased
Vvhen Santa Claus himself in magnificent white
beard and furs appeared and began to dis-
tribute the toys.
"It's my papa," announced Billy Sampson,
aged six. " I've seen him wear 'em before."
Berkly, a sheepman, an old friend of Lane,
ioo A Chaparral Christmas Gift
stopped Rosita as she was passing by him on
the gallery, where he was sitting smoking.
"Well, Mrs. Lane," said he, "I suppose by
this Christmas you've gotten over being
afraid of that fellow McRoy, haven't you?
Madison and I have talked about it, you
"Very nearly," said Rosita, smiling, "but
I am still nervous sometimes. I shall never
forget that awful time when he came so near
to killing us."
"He's the most cold-hearted villain in the
world," said Berkly. "The citizens all along
the border ought to turn out and hunt him
down like a wolf."
"He has committed awful crimes," said
Rosita, "but I don't know. I think there
is a spot of good somewhere in everybody.
He was not always bad that I know."
Rosita turned into the hallway between
the rooms. Santa Claus, in muffling whiskers
and furs, was just coming through.
"I heard what you said through the win-
dow, Mrs. Lane," he said. "I was just going
down in my pocket for a Christmas present
for your husband. But I've left one for you,
instead. It's in the room to your right."
A Chaparral Christmas Gift 101
"Oh, thank you, kind Santa Claus," said
Rosita went, into the room, while Santa
Claus stepped into the cooler air of the yard.
She found no one in the room but Madison.
"Where is my present that Santa said he
left for me in here?" she asked.
"Haven't seen anything in the way of a
present," said her husband, laughing, "un-
less he could have meant me."
The next day Gabriel Radd, the foreman
of the X O Ranch, dropped into the post-
office at Loma Alta.
"Well, the Frio Kid's got his dose of lead
at last," he remarked to the postmaster.
"That so? How'd it happen?"
"One of old Sanchez's Mexican sheep herd-
ers did it! think of it! the Frio Kid killed by
a sheep herder! The Greaser saw him riding
along past his camp about twelve o'clock last
night, and was so skeered that he up with a
Winchester and let him have it. Funniest
part of it was that the Kid was dressed all
up with white Angora-skin whiskers and a
regular Santy Claus rig-out from head to
foot. Think of the Frio Kid playing Santy!"
THE ROADS WE TAKE
TWENTY miles west of Tucson the "Sunset
Express" stopped at a tank to take on water.
Besides the aqueous addition the engine of
that famous flyer acquired some other things
that were not good for it.
While the fireman was lowering the feeding
hose, Bob Tidball, "Shark" Dodson, and a
quarter-bred Creek Indian called John Big
Dog climbed on the engine and showed the
engineer three round orifices in pieces of
ordnance that they carried. These orifices
so impressed the engineer with their possibili-
ties that he raised both hands in a gesture
such as accompanies the ejaculation "Do
At the crisp command of Shark Dodson,
who was leader of the attacking force, the
engineer descended to the ground and un-
coupled the engine and tender. Then John
Big Dog, perched upon the coal, sportively
The Roads We Take 103
held two guns upon the engine driver and the
fireman, and suggested that they run the
engine fifty yards away and there await further
Shark Dodson and Bob Tidball, scorning
to put such low-grade ore as the passengers
through the mill, struck out for the rich pocket
of the express car. They found the messenger
serene in the belief that the "Sunset Express"
was taking on nothing more stimulating and
dangerous than aqua pura. While Bob was
knocking this idea out of his head with the
butt-end of his six-shooter Shark Dodson
was already dosing the express-car safe with
The safe exploded to the tune of $30,000,
all gold and currency. The passengers thrust
their heads casually out of the windows to
look for the thunder-cloud. The conductor
jerked at the t>ell-rope, which sagged down,
loose and unresisting, at his tug. Shark Dod-
son and Bob Tidball, with their booty in a
stout canvas bag, tumbled out of the express
car and ran awkwardly in their high-heeled
boots to the engine.
The engineer, sullenly angry but wise, ran
the engine, according to orders, rapidly away
104 The Roads We Take
from the inert train. But before this was ac-
complished the express messenger, recovered
from Bob Tidball's persuader to neutrality,
jumped out of his car with a Winchester rifle
and took a trick in the game. Mr. John
Big Dog, sitting on the coal tender, unwittingly
made a wrong lead by giving an imitation of
a target, and the messenger trumped him.
With a ball exactly between his shoulder-
blades the Creek chevalier of industry rolled
off to the ground, thus increasing the share of
his comrades in the loot by one-sixth each.
Two miles from the tank the engineer was
ordered to stop.
The robbers waved a defiant adieu and
plunged down the steep slope into the thick
woods that lined the track. Five minutes of
crashing through a thicket of chaparral
brought them to open woods, where three
horses were tied to low-hanging branches.
One was waiting for John Big Dog, who
would never ride by night or day again.
This animal the robbers divested of saddle
and bridle and set free. They mounted the
other two with the bag across one pommel,
and rode fast and with discretion through
the forest and up a primeval, lonely gorge.
The Roads We Take 105
Here the animal that bore Bob Tidball slipped
on a mossy boulder and broke a foreleg. They
shot him through the head at once and sat
down to hold a council of flight. Made se-
cure for the present by the tortuous trail they
had travelled, the question of time was no
longer so big. Many miles and hours lay
between them and the spryest posse that could
follow. Shark Dodson's horse, with trailing
rope and dropped bridle, panted and cropped
thankfully of the grass along the stream in
the gorge. Bob Tidball opened the sack,
drew out double handfuls of the neat packages
of currency and the one sack of gold and
chuckled with the glee of a child.
"Say, you old double-decked pirate," he
called joyfully to Dodson, "you said we could
do it you got a head for financing that
knocks the horns off of anything in Arizona."
"What are we going to do about a hoss
for you, Bob? We ain't got long to wait
here. They'll be on our trail before daylight
in the mornin'."
"Oh, I guess that cayuse of yourn'll carry
double for a while," answered the sanguine
Bob. "We'll annex the first animal we come
across. By jingoes, we made a haul, didn't
io6 The Roads We Take
we? Accordin' to the marks on this money
there's $30,000 $15,000 apiece !"
"It's short of what I expected," said Shark
Dodson, kicking softly at the packages with
the toe of his boot. And then he looked pen-
sively at the wet sides of his tired horse.
"Old Bolivar's mighty nigh played out,"
he said slowly. "I wish that sorrel of yours
hadn't got hurt."
"So do I," said Bob, heartily, "but it can't
be helped. Bolivar's got plenty of bottom
he'll get us both far enough to get fresh
mounts. Dang it, Shark, I can't help thinkin'
how funny it is that an Easterner like you
can come out here and give us Western fellows
cards and spades in the desperado business.
What part of the East was you from, any-
"New York State," said Shark Dodson,
sitting down on a boulder and chewing a twig.
"I was born on a farm in Ulster County. I
ran away from home when I was seventeen.
It was an accident my comin' West. I was
walkin' along the road with my clothes in
a bundle, makin' for New York City. I had
an idea of goin' there and makin' lots of money.
I always felt like I could do it. I came to a
The Roads We Take 107
place one evenin' where the road forked and
I didn't know which fork to take. I studied
about it for half an hour, and then I took
the left hand. That night I run into the camp
of a Wild West show that was travellin'
among the little towns, and I went West with
it. I've often wondered if I wouldn't have
turned out different if I'd took the other road."
"Oh, I reckon you'd have ended up about
the same," said Bob Tidball, cheerfully philo-
sophical. "It ain't the roads we take; it's
what's inside of us that makes us turn out
the way we do."
Shark Dodson got up and leaned against a
" I'd a good deal rather that sorrel of yourn
hadn't hurt himself, Bob," he said again, al-
"Same here," agreed Bob; "he was sure a
first-rate kind of a crowbait. But Bolivar,
he'll pull us through all right. Reckon we'd
better be movin' on, hadn't we, Shark? I'll
bag this boodle ag'in and we'll hit the trail
for higher timber."
Bob Tidball replaced the spoil in the bag
and tied the mouth of it tightly with a cord.
When he looked up the most prominent ob-
io8 The Roads We Take
ject that he saw was the muzzle of Shark
Dodson's .45 held upon him without a waver.
" Stop your funnin'," said Bob, with a grin.
"We got to be hittin' the breeze."
"Set still," said Shark. "You ain't goin'
to hit no breeze, Bob. I hate to tell you,
but there ain't any chance for but one of us.
Bolivar, he's plenty tired, and he can't carry
"We been pards, me and you, Shark
Dodson, for three year," Bob said quietly.
"We've risked our lives together time and
again. I've always give you a square deal,
and I thought you was a man. I've heard
some queer stories about you shootin' one or
two men in a peculiar way, but I never be-
lieved 'em. Now if you're just havin' a little
fun with me, Shark, put your gun up, and
we'll get on Bolivar and vamose. If you
mean to shoot shoot, you blackhearted son
of a tarantula!"
Shark Dodson's face bore a deeply sorrow-
"You don't know how bad I feel," he
sighed, "about that sorrel of yourn breakin'
his leg, Bob."
The expression on Dodson's face changed in
The Roads We Take 109
an instant to one of cold ferocity mingled with
inexorable cupidity. The soul of the man
showed itself for a moment like an evil face in
the window of a reputable house.
Truly Bob Tidball was never to "hit the
breeze" again. The deadly .45 of the false
friend cracked and filled the gorge with a roar
that the walls hurled back with indignant
echoes. And Bolivar, unconscious accom-
plice, swiftly bore away the last of the holders-
up of the "Sunset Express," not put to the
stress of "carrying double."
But as "Shark" Dodson galloped away the
woods seemed to fade from his view; the re-
volver in his right hand turned to the curved
arm of a mahogany chair; his saddle was
strangely upholstered, and he opened his eyes
and saw his feet, not in stirrups, but resting
quietly on the edge of a quartered-oak desk.
I am telling you that Dodson, of the firm
of Dodson & Decker, Wall Street brokers,
opened his eyes. Peabody, the confidential
clerk, was standing by his chair, hesitating
to speak. There was a confused hum of
wheels below, and the sedative buzz of an
1 10 The Roads We Take
"Ahem! Peabody," said Dodson, blinking.
"I must have fallen asleep. I had a most
remarkable dream. What is it, Peabody?"
"Mr. Williams, sir, of Tracy & Williams, is
outside. He has come to settle his deal in
X. Y. Z. The market caught him short, sir,
if you remember."
"Yes, I remember. What is X. Y. Z.
quoted at to-day, Peabody?"
"One eighty-five, sir."
"Then that's his price."
"Excuse me," said Peabody, rather ner-
vously, "for speaking of it, but I've been talk-
ing to Williams. He's an old friend of yours,
Mr. Dodson, and you practically have a corner
in X. Y. Z. I thought you might that is, I
thought you might not remember that he sold
you the stock at 98. If he settles at the market
price it will take every cent he has in the world
and his home, too, to deliver the shares."
The expression on Dodson's face changed in
an instant to one of cold ferocity mingled with
inexorable cupidity. The soul of the man
showed itself for a moment like an evil face in
the window of a reputable house.
"He will settle at one eighty-five," said
Dodson. "Bolivar cannot carry double."
NEW YORK BY CAMP FIRE LIGHT
AWAY out in the Creek Nation we learned
things about New York.
We were on a hunting trip, and were camped
one night on the bank of a little stream.
Bud Kingsbury was our skilled hunter and
guide, and it was from his lips that we had
explanations of Manhattan and the queer
folks that inhabit it. Bud had once spent a
month in the metropolis, and a week or two at
other times, and he was pleased to discourse
to us of what he had seen.
Fifty yards away from our camp was
pitched the teepee of a wandering family of
Indians that had come up and settled there
for the night. An old, old Indian woman
was trying to build a fire under an iron pot
hung upon three sticks.
Bud went over to her assistance, and soon had
her fire going. When he came back we com-
plimented him playfully upon his gallantry.
H2 New York by Camp Fire Light
"Oh," said Bud, "don't mention it. It's
a way I have. Whenever I see a lady trying
to cook things in a pot and having trouble I
always go to the rescue. I done the same
thing once in a high-toned house in New York
City. Heap big society teepee on Fifth
Avenue. That Injun lady kind of recalled it
to my mind. Yes, I endeavours to be polite
and help the ladies out."
The camp demanded the particulars.
"I was manager of the Triangle B Ranch in
the Panhandle," said Bud. "It was owned at
that time by old man Sterling, of New York.
He wanted to sell out, and he wrote for me to
come on to New York and explain the ranch to
thesyndicate that wanted to buy. So I sends to
Fort Worth and has a forty-dollar suit of clothes
made, and hits the trail for the big village.
"Wellj when I got there, old man Sterling
and his outfit certainly laid themselves out to
be agreeable. We had business and pleasure
so mixed up that you couldn't tell whether it
was a treat or a trade half the time. We had
trolley rides, and cigars, and theatre round-
ups, and rubber parties."
"Rubber parties?" said a listener inquir-
New York by Camp Fire Light 113
"Sure," said Bud. "Didn't you never
attend 'em? You walk around and try to
look at the tops of the skyscrapers. Well,
we sold the ranch, and old man Sterling asks
me 'round to his house to take grub on the
night before I started back. It wasn't any
high-collared affair just me and the old man
and his wife and daughter. But they was a
fine-haired outfit all right, and the lilies of
the field wasn't in it. They made my Fort
Worth clothes carpenter look like a dealer in
horse blankets and gee strings. And then
the table was all pompous with flowers, and
there was a whole kit of tools laid out beside
everybody's plate. You'd have thought you
was fixed out to burglarize a restaurant before
you could get your grub. But I'd been in
New York over a week then, and I was getting
on to stylish ways. I kind of trailed behind
and watched the others use the hardware
supplies, and then I tackled the chuck with the
same weapons. It ain't much trouble to
travel with the high-flyers after you find out
their gait. I got along fine. I was feeling
cool and agreeable, and pretty soon I was talk-
ing away fluent as you please, all about the
ranch and the West, and telling 'em how the
1 14 New York by Camp Fire Light
Indians eat grasshopper stew and snakes, and
you never saw people so interested.
" But the real joy of that feast was that Miss
Sterling. Just a little trick she was, not big-
ger than two bits worth of chewing plug; but
she had a way about her that seemed to say
she was the people, and you believed it. And
yet, she never put on any airs, and she smiled
at me the same as if I was a millionaire while
I was telling about a Creek dog feast and
listened like it was news from home.
"By and by, after we had eat oysters and
some watery soup and truck that never was
in my repertory, a Methodist preacher brings
in a kind of camp stove arrangement, all
silver, on long legs, with a lamp under it.
"Miss Sterling lights up and begins to do
some cooking right on the supper table. I
wondered why old man Sterling didn't hire a
cook, with all the money he had. Pretty
soon she dished out some cheesy tasting truck
that she said was rabbit, but I swear there
had never been a Molly cotton tail in a mile
"The last thing on the programme was
lemonade. It was brought around in little
flat glass bowls and set by your plate. I was
New York by Camp Fire Light 115
pretty thirsty, and I picked up mine and took
a big swig of it. Right there was where the
little lady had made a mistake. She had put
in the lemon all right, but she'd forgot the
sugar. The best housekeepers slip up some-
times. I thought maybe Miss Sterling was
just learning to keep house and cook that
rabbit would surely make you think so and
I says to myself, Tittle lady, sugar or no
sugar I'll stand by you/ and I raises up my
bowl again and drinks the last drop of the
lemonade. And then all the balance of 'em
picks up their bowls and does the same. And
then I gives Miss Sterling the laugh proper,
just to carry it off like a joke, so she wouldn't
feel bad about the mistake.
"After we all went into the sitting room she
sat down and talked to me quite awhile.
"'It was so kind of you, Mr. Kingsbury/
says she, 'to bring my blunder off so nicely.
It was so stupid of me to forget the sugar/
"'Never you mind,' says I, 'some lucky
man will throw his rope over a mighty elegant
little housekeeper some day, not far from
"If you mean me, Mr. Kingsbury/ says she,
laughing out loud, 'I hope he will be as
n6 New York by Camp Fire Light
lenient with my poor housekeeping as you
"' Don't mention it/ says I. 'Anything
to oblige the ladies."
Bud ceased his reminiscences. And then
some one asked him what he considered the
most striking and prominent trait of New
"The most visible and peculiar trait of
New York folks/' answered Bud, "is New
York. Most of 'em has New York on the
brain. They have heard of other places,
such as Waco, and Paris, and Hot Springs,
and London; but they don't believe in 'em.
They think that town is all Merino. Now to
show you how much they care for their village
I'll tell you about one of 'em that strayed out
as far as the Triangle B while I was working
"This New Yorker come out there looking
for a job on the ranch. He said he was a
good horseback rider, and there was pieces
of tanbark hanging on his clothes yet from his
"Well, for a while they put him to keeping
books in the ranch store, for he was a devil
at figures. But he got tired of that, and
New York by Camp Fire Light 117
asked for something more in the line of ac-
tivity. The boys on the ranch liked him all
right, but he made us tired shouting New
York all the time. Every night he'd tell us
about East River and J. P. Morgan and the
Eden Musee and Hetty Green and Central
Park till we used to throw tin plates and
branding irons at him.
"One day this chap gets on a pitching pony,
and the pony kind of sidled up his back and
went to eating grass while the New Yorker
was coming down.
"He come down on his head on a chunk of
mesquite wood, and he didn't show any de-
signs toward getting up again. We laid him
out in a tent, and he begun to look pretty
dead. So Gideon Pease saddles up and
burns the wind for old Doc Sleeper's residence
in Dogtown, thirty miles away.
"The doctor comes over and he investigates
"Boys/ says he, 'you might as well go to
playing seven-up for his saddle and clothes,
for his head's fractured and if he lives ten
minutes it will be a remarkable case of longe-
"Of course we didn't gamble for the poor**
Ii8 New York by Camp Fire Light
rooster's saddle that was one of Doc's jokes.
But we stood around feeling solemn, and all
of us forgive him for having talked us to
death about New York.
"I never saw anybody about to hand in
his checks act more peaceful than this fellow.
His eyes were fixed 'way up in the air, and
he was using rambling words to himself all
about sweet music and beautiful streets and
white-robed forms, and he was smiling like
dying was a pleasure.
" 'He's about gone now,' said Doc. 'When-
ever they begin to think they see heaven it's
" Blamed if that New York man didn't sit
right up when he heard the Doc say that.
" ' Say,' says he, kind of disappointed, 'was
that heaven? Confound it all, I thought it
was Broadway. Some of you fellows get my
clothes. I'm going to get up.'
"And I'll be blamed," concluded Bud, "if
he wasn't on the train with a ticket for New
York in his pocket four days afterward!"
THE ADVENTURES OF SHAMROCK JOLNES
I AM so fortunate as to count Shamrock
Jolnes, the great New York detective, among
my muster of friends. Jolnes is what is
called the "inside man" of the city detective
force. He is an expert in the use of the
typewriter, and it is his duty, whenever
there is a "murder mystery" to be solved,
to sit at a desk telephone at Headquarters
and take down the messages of "cranks"
who 'phone in their confessions to having
committed the crime.
But on certain "off" days when confessions
ark coming in slowly and three or four news-
papers have run to earth as many different
guilty persons, Jolnes will knock about the
town with me, exhibiting, to my great de-
light and instruction, his marvellous powers
of observation and deduction.
The other day I dropped in at Headquarters
and found the great detective gazing thought-
I2O The Adventures of Shamrock Jolnes
fully at a string that was tied tightly around
his little ringer.
"Good morning, Whatsup," he said, with-
out turning his head. "I'm glad to notice
that you've had your house fitted up with
electric lights at last."
"Will you please tell me," I said, in sur-
prise, "how you knew that? I am sure that
I never mentioned the fact to any one, and
the wiring was a rush order not completed
until this morning."
"Nothing easier," said Jolnes genially.
"As you came in I caught the odour of the
cigar you are smoking. I know an expensive
cigar; and I know that not more than three
men in New York can afford to smoke cigars
and pay gas bills, too, at the present time.
That was an easy one. But I am working
just now on a little problem of my own."
"Why have you that string on your finger ?"
"That's the problem," said Jolnes. "My
wife tied that on this morning to remind me of
something I was to send up to the house.
Sit down, Whatsup, and excuse me for a few
The distinguished detective went to a wall
The Adventures of Shamrock Jolnes 121
telephone, and stood with the receiver to his
ear for probably ten minutes.
"Were you listening to a confession?" I
asked, when he had returned to his chair.
"Perhaps," said Jolnes, with a smile, "it
might be called something of the sort. To be
frank with you, Whatsup, I've cut out the
dope. IVe been increasing the quantity
for so long that morphine doesn't have much
effect on me any more. I've got to have
something more powerful. That telephone
I just went to is connected with a room in
the Waldorf where there's an author's read-
ing in progress. Now, to get at the solution
of this string."
After five minutes of silent pondering
Jolnes looked at me, with a smile, and nodded
"Wonderful man!" I exclaimed; "already?"
"It is quite simple," he said, holding up his
finger. "You see that knot? That is to
prevent my forgetting. It is, therefore, a
forget-me-knot. A forget-me-not is a flower.
It was a sack of flour that I was to send
"Beautiful!" I could not help crying out in
122 The Adventures of Shamrock Jolnes
"Suppose we go out for a ramble/' sug-
gested Jolnes. " There is only one case of im-
portance on hand just now. Old man Mc-
Carty, one hundred and four years old, died
from eating too many bananas. The evidence
points so strongly to the Mafia that the police
have surrounded the Second Avenue Katzen-
jammer Gambrinus Club No. 2, and the cap-
ture of the assassin is only the matter of a few
hours. The detective force has not yet been
called on for assistance."
Jolnes and I went out and up the street to-
ward the corner, where we were to catch a
Halfway up the block we met Rheingelder,
an acquaintance of ours, who held a City Hall
"Good morning, Rheingelder," said Jolnes,
"Nice breakfast that was you had this
Always on the lookout for the detective's
remarkable feats of deduction, I saw Jolnes's
eye flash for an instant upon a long yellow
splash on the shirt bosom and a smaller one
upon the chin of Rheingelder both un-
doubtedly made by the yolk of an egg.
The Adventures of Shamrock Jolnes 123
"Oh, dot is some of your detectiveness," said
Rheingelder, shaking all over with a smile.
" Veil, I pet you trinks and cigars all round dot
you cannot tell vot I haf eaten for breakfast/'
"Done," said Jolnes. "Sausage, pumper-
nickel, and coffee."
Rheingelder admitted the correctness of the
surmise and paid the bet. When we had
proceeded on our way I said to Jolnes :
"I thought you looked at the egg spilled
on his chin and shirt front."
"I did," said Jolnes. "That is where I
began my deduction. Rheingelder is a very
economical, saving man. Yesterday eggs
dropped in the market to twenty-eight cents
per dozen. To-day they are quoted at forty-
two. Rheingelder ate eggs yesterday, and
to-day he went back to his usual fare. A
little thing like this isn't anything, Whatsup;
it belongs to the primary arithmetic class."
When we boarded the street car we found
the seats all occupied principally by ladies.
Jolnes and I stood on the rear platform.
About the middle of the car there sat an
elderly man with a short, gray beard, who
looked to be the typical, well-dressed New
Yorker. At successive corners other ladies
124 The Adventures of Shamrock Jolnes
climbed aboard, and soon three or four of
them were standing over the man, clinging
to straps and glaring meaningly at the man
who occupied the coveted seat. But he reso-
lutely retained his place.
"We New Yorkers," I remarked to Jolnes,
"have about lost our manners, as far as the
exercise of them in public goes."
"Perhaps so," said Jolnes, lightly; "but
the man you evidently refer to happens to
be a very chivalrous and courteous gentle-
man from Old Virginia. He is spending a
few days in New York with his wife and
two daughters, and he leaves for the South
"You know him, then?" I said, in amaze-
"I never saw him before we stepped on the
car," declared the detective smilingly.
"By the gold tooth of the Witch of Endor !"
I cried, "if you can construe all that from his
appearance you are dealing in nothing else
than black art."
"The habit of observation nothing more,"
said Jolnes. "If the old gentleman gets off
the car before we do, I think I can demon-
strate to you the accuracy of my deduction."
The Adventures of Shamrock Jolnes 125
Three blocks farther along the gentleman
rose to leave the car. Jolnes addressed him
at the door:
" Pardon me, sir, but are -you not Colonel
Hunter, of Norfolk, Virginia?"
"No, suh," was the extremely courteous
answer. "My name, suh, is Ellison Major
Winfield R. Ellison, from Fairfax County,
in the same state. I know a good many
people, suh, in Norfolk the Goodriches, the
Tollivers, and the Crabtrees, suh, but I
never had the pleasure of meeting yo' friend,
Colonel Hunter. I am happy to say, suh,
that I am going back to Virginia to-night,
after having spent a week in yo' city with
my wife and three daughters. I shall be
in Norfolk in about ten days, and if you
will give me yo' name, suh, I will take
pleasure in looking up Colonel Hunter and
teUing him that you inquired after him,
"Thank you," said Jolnes; "tell him that
Reynolds sent his regards, if you will be so
I glanced at the great New York detective
and saw that a look of intense chagrin had
come upon his clear-cut features. Failure
126 The Adventures of Shamrock Jolnes
in the slightest point always galled Shamrock
"Did you say your three daughters ?" he
asked of the Virginia gentleman.
"Yes, suh, my three daughters, all as fine
girls as there are in Fairfax County," was the
With that Major Ellison stopped the car
and began to descend the step.
Shamrock Jolnes clutched his arm.
"One moment, sir/' he begged, in an urbane
voice in which I alone detected the anxiety
"am I not right in believing that one of the
young ladies is an adopted daughter?"
"You are, suh," admitted the major, from
the ground, "but how the devil you knew it,
suh, is mo' than I can tell."
"And mo' than I can tell, too," I said, as the
car went on.
Jolnes was restored to his calm, observant
serenity by having wrested victory from his
apparent failure; so after we got off the car
he invited me into a cafe, promising to reveal
the process of his latest wonderful feat.
"In the first place," he began after we were
comfortably seated, "I knew the gentlemai
was no New Yorker because he was flush*
The Adventures of Shamrock Jolnes 127
and uneasy and restless on account of the
ladies that were standing, although he did
not rise and give them his seat. I decided
from his appearance that he was a Southerner
rather than a Westerner.
"Next I began to figure out his reason for
not relinquishing his seat to a lady when he
evidently felt strongly, but not overpower-
ingly, impelled to do so. I very quickly de-
cided upon that. I noticed that one of his
eyes had received a severe jab in one corner,
which was red and inflamed, and that all
over his face were tiny round marks about
the size of the end of an uncut lead pencil.
Also upon both of his patent leather shoes
were a number of deep imprints shaped like
ovals cut off square at one end.
" Now, there is only one district in New York
City where a man is bound to receive scars
and wounds and indentations of that sort
and that is along the sidewalks of Twenty-
third Street and a portion of Sixth Avenue
south of there. I knew from the imprints of
trampling French heels on his feet and the
marks of countless jabs in the face from um-
brellas and parasols carried by women in the
shopping district that he had been in conflict
128 The Adventures of Shamrock Jolnes
with the amazonian troops. And as he was
a man of intelligent appearance, I knew he
would not have braved such dangers unless
he had been dragged thither by his own wo-
men folk. Therefore, when he got on the
car his anger at the treatment he had received
was sufficient to make him keep his seat in
spite of his traditions of Southern chivalry."
"That is all very well," I said, "but why
did you insist upon daughters and especially
two daughters? Why couldn't a wife alone
have taken him shopping?"
"There had to be daughters," said Jolnes
calmly. "If he had only a wife, and she
near his own age, he could have bluffed her
into going alone. If he had a young wife
she would prefer to go alone. So there you
"I'll admit that," I said; "but, now, why
two daughters ? And how, in the name of all
the prophets, did you guess that one was
adopted when he told you he had three?"
"Don't say guess," said Jolnes, with a
touch of pride in his air; "there is no such
word in the lexicon of ratiocination. In
Major Ellison's buttonhole there was a carna-
tion and a rosebud backed by a geranium
The Adventures of Shamrock Jolnes 129
leaf. No woman ever combined a carnation
and a rosebud into a boutonniere. Close
your eyes, Whatsup, and give the logic of
your imagination a chance. Cannot you see
the lovely Adele fastening the carnation to
the lapel so that papa may be gay upon the
street? And then the romping Edith May
dancing up with sisterly jealousy to add her
rosebud to the adornment?"
"And then," I cried, beginning to feel en-
thusiasm, "when he declared that he had three
"I could see," said Jolnes, "one in the back-
ground who added no flower; and I knew
that she must be
"Adopted!" I broke in. "I give you every
credit; but how did you know he was leaving
for the South to-night?"
"In his breast pocket," said the great de-
tective, "something large and oval made a
protuberance. Good liquor is scarce on trains,
and it is a long journey from New York to
"Again, I must bow to you," I said. "And
tell me this, so that my last shred of doubt will
be cleared away; why did you decide that he
was from Virginia?"
130 The Adventures of Shamrock Jolnes
"It was very faint, I admit," answered
Shamrock Jolnes, "but no trained observer
could have failed to detect the odour of mint
in the car."
IN THE Big City a man will disappear with
the suddenness and completeness of the flame
of a candle that is blown out. All the agen-
cies of inquisition the hounds of the trail,
the sleuths of the city's labyrinths, the closet
detectives of theory and induction will be
invoked to the search. Most often the man's
face will be seen no more. Sometimes he will
reappear in Sheboygan or in the wilds of Terre
Haute, calling himself one of the synonyms
of "Smith," and without memory of events
up to a certain time, including his grocer's
bill. Sometimes it will be found, after drag-
ging the rivers, and polling the restaurants
to see if he may be waiting for a well-done
sirloin, that he has moved next door.
This snuffing out of a human being like the
erasure of a chalk man from a blackboard is
one of the most impressive themes in dram-
132 The Sleuths
The case of Mary Snyder, in point, should
not be without interest.
A man of middle age, of the name of Meeks,
came from the West to New York to find his
sister, Mrs. Mary Snyder, a widow, aged
fifty-two, who had been living for a year in a
tenement house in a crowded neighbourhood.
At her address he was told that Mary
Snyder had moved away longer than a month
before. No one could tell him her new
On coming out Mr. Meeks addressed a
policeman who was standing on the corner,
and explained his dilemma.
"My sister is very poor," he said, "and I
am anxious to find her. I have recently made
quite a lot of money in a lead mine, and I want
her to share my prosperity. There is no use
in advertising her, because she cannot read."
The policeman pulled his moustache and
looked so thoughtful and mighty that Meeks
could almost feel the joyful tears of his sister
Mary dropping upon his bright blue tie.
"You go down in the Canal Street neigh-
bourhood," said the policeman, "and get a
job drivin' the biggest dray you can find.
There's old women always gettin' knocked
The Sleuths 133
over by drays down there. You might see
'er among 'em. If you don't want to do that
you better go 'round to headquarters and get
'em to put a fly cop onto the dame."
At police headquarters Meeks received
ready assistance. A general alarm was sent
out, and copies of a photograph of Mary
Snyder that her brother had were distributed
among the stations. In Mulberry Street
the chief assigned Detective Mullins to the
The detective took Meeks aside and said :
"This is not a very difficult case to unravel.
Shave off your whiskers, fill your pockets with
good cigars, and meet me in the cafe of the
Waldorf at three o'clock this afternoon."
Meeks obeyed. He found Mullins there.
They had a bottle of wine, while the detective
asked questions concerning the missingwoman.
"Now," said Mullins, "New York is a big
city, but we've got the detective business
systematized. There are two ways we can go
about finding your sister. We will try one of
'em first. You say she's fifty-two?"
"A little past," said Meeks.
The detective conducted the Westerner to
a branch advertising office of one of the largest
134 The Sleuths
dailies. There he wrote the following "ad"
and submitted it to Meeks.
"Wanted, at once one hundred attractive
chorus girls for a new musical comedy.
Apply all day at No. - Broadway."
Meeks was indignant.
"My sister," said he, "is a poor, hard-
working, elderly woman. I do not see what
aid an advertisement of this kind would be
toward finding her."
"All right," said the detective. "I guess
you don't know New York. But if you've
got a grouch against this scheme we'll try the
other one. It's a sure thing. But it'll cost
"Never mind the expense," said Meeks;
"we'll try it."
The sleuth led him back to the Waldorf.
"Engage a couple of bedrooms and a parlour,"
he advised, "and let's go up."
This was done, and th two were shown to a
superb suite on the fourth floor. Meeks
looked puzzled. The detective sank into
a velvet armchair, and pulled out his cigar
"I forgot to suggest, old man," he said,
"that you should have taken the rooms by the
The Sleuths 135
month. They wouldn't have stuck you so
much for 'em."
"By the month!" exclaimed Meeks.
"What do you mean?"
"Oh, it'll take time to work the game this
way. I told you it would cost you more.
We'll have to wait till spring. There'll be a
new city directory out then. Very likely your
sister's name and address will be in it."
Meeks rid himself of the city detective at
once. On the next day some one advised
him to consult Shamrock Jolnes, New York's
famous private detective, who demanded
fabulous fees, but performed miracles in the
way of solving mysteries and crimes.
After waiting for two hours in the anteroom
of the great detective's apartment, Meeks
was shown into his presence. Jolnes sat in a
purple dressing-gown at an inlaid ivory chess
table, with a magazine before him, trying to
solve the mystery of "They." The famous
sleuth's thin, intellectual face, piercing eyes,
and rate per word are too well known to need
Meeks set forth his errand. " My fee, if suc-
cessful, will be $500," said Shamrock Jolnes.
Meeks bowed his agreement to the price.
136 The Sleuths
"I will undertake your case, Mr. Meeks,"
said Jolnes finally. "The disappearance of
people in this city has always been an interest-
ing problem to me. I remember a case that I
brought to a successful outcome a year ago.
A family bearing the name of Clark dis-
appeared suddenly from a small flat in which
they were living. I watched the flat building
for two months for a clue. One day it struck
me that a certain milkman and a grocer's boy
always walked backward when they carried
their wares upstairs. Following out by in-
duction the idea that this observation gave
me, I at once located the missing family.
They had moved into the flat across the hall
and changed their name to Kralc."
Shamrock Jolnes and his client went to the
tenement house where Mary Snyder had lived,
and the detective demanded to be shown the
room in which she had lived. It had been
occupied by no tenant since her disappear-
The room was small, dingy, and poorly
furnished. Meeks seated himself dejectedly
on a broken chair, while the great detective
searched the walls and floor and the few sticks
of old, rickety furniture for a clue.
The Sleuths 137
At the end of half an hour Jolnes had col-
lected a few seemingly unintelligible articles
a cheap black hatpin, a piece torn off a
theatre programme, and the end of a small
torn card on which was the word "left" and
the characters "C 12."
Shamrock Jolnes leaned against the mantel
for ten minutes, with his head resting upon
his hand, and an absorbed look upon his in-
tellectual face. At the end of that time he
exclaimed, with animation:
"Come, Mr. Meeks; the problem is solved.
I can take you directly to the house where
your sister is living. And you may have no
fears concerning her welfare, for she is amply
provided with funds for the present at least."
Meeks felt joy and wonder in equal pro-
"How did you manage it?" he asked, with
admiration in his tones.
Perhaps Jolnes's only weakness was a pro-
fessional pride in his wonderful achievements
in induction. He was ever ready to astound
and charm his listeners by describing his
"By elimination," said Jolnes, spreading
his clues upon a little table., " I got rid of cer-
138 The Sleuths
tain parts of the city to which Mrs. Snyder
might have removed. You see this hatpin?
That eliminates Brooklyn. No woman at-
tempts to board a car at the Brooklyn Bridge
without being sure that she carries a hatpin
with which to fight her way into a seat. And
now I will demonstrate to you that she could
not have gone to Harlem. Behind this door
are two hooks in the wall. Upon one of these
Mrs. Snyder has hung her bonnet, and upon
the other her shawl. You will observe that
the bottom of the hanging shawl has grad-
ually made a soiled streak against the plastered
wall. The mark is clean-cut, proving that
there is no fringe on the shawl. Now, was
there ever a case where a middle-aged woman,
wearing a shawl, boarded a Harlem train
without there being a fringe on the shawl to
catch in the gate and delay the passengers
behind her? So we eliminate Harlem.
"Therefore I conclude that Mrs. Snyder
has not moved very far away. On this torn
piece of card you see the word 'Left/ the
letter 'C/ and the number '12.' Now, I
happen to know that No. 12 Avenue C is a
first-class boarding house, far beyond your
sister's means as we suppose. But then I
The Sleuths 139
find this piece of a theatre programme, crum-
pled into an odd shape. What meaning does
it convey? None to you, very likely, Mr.
Meeks; but it is eloquent to one whose habits
and training take cognizance of the smallest
"You have told me that your sister was a
scrub woman. She scrubbed the floors of
offices and hallways. Let us assume that she
procured such work to perform in a theatre.
Where is valuable jewellery lost the oftenest,
Mr. Meeks? In the theatres, of course.
Look at that piece of programme, Mr. Meeks.
Observe the round impression in it. It has
been wrapped around a ring perhaps a ring
of great value. Mrs. Snyder found the ring
while at work in the theatre. She hastily
tore off a piece of a programme, wrapped the
ring carefully, and thrust it into her bosom.
The next day she disposed of it, and, with her
increased means, looked about her for a more
comfortable place in whicrTto live. When I
reach thus far in the chain I see nothing im-
possible about No. 12 Avenue C. It is there
we will find your sister, Mr. Meeks."
Shamrock Jolnes concluded his convincing
speech with the smile of a successful artist.
140 The Sleuths
Meeks's admiration was too great for words.
Together they went to No. 12 Avenue C.
It was an old-fashioned brownstone house in a
prosperous and respectable neighbourhood.
They rang the bell, and on inquiring were
told that no Mrs. Snyder was known there,
and that not within six months had a new
occupant come to the house.
When they reached the sidewalk again,
Meeks examined the clues which he had
brought away from his sister's old room.
"I am no detective," he remarked to Jolnes
as he raised the piece of theatre programme to
his nose, "but it seems to me that instead
of a ring having been wrapped in this paper
it was one of those round peppermint drops.
And this piece with the address on it looks to
me like the end of a seat coupon No. 12, row
C, left aisle."
Shamrock Jolnes had a far-away look in
"I think you would do well to consult
Juggins," said he.
"Who is Juggins?" asked Meeks.
"He is the leader," said Jolnes, "of a new
modern school of detectives. Their methods
are different from ours, but it is said that
The Sleuths 141
Juggins has solved some extremely puzzling
cases. I will take you to him."
They found the greater Juggins in his office.
He was a small man with light hair, deeply
absorbed in reading one of the bourgeois
works of Nathaniel Hawthorne.
The two great detectives of different schools
shook hands with ceremony, and Meeks was
"State the facts," said Juggins, going on
with his reading.
When Meeks ceased, the greater one closed
his book and said :
"Do I understand that your sister is fifty-
two years of age, with a large mole on the side
of her nose, and that she is a very poor widow,
making a scanty living by scrubbing, and with
a very homely face and figure?"
"That describes her exactly," admitted
Meeks. Juggins rose and put on his hat.
"In fifteen minutes," he said, "I will re-
turn, bringing you her present address."
Shamrock Jolnes turned pale, but forced a
Within the specified time Juggins returned and
consulted a little slip of paper held in his hand.
"Your sister, Mary Snyder," he announced
142 The Sleuths
calmly, "will be found at No. 162 Chilton
Street. She is living in the back hall bed-
room, five flights up. The house is only
four blocks from here," he continued, ad-
dressing Meeks. "Suppose you go and verify
the statement and then return here. Mr.
Jolnes will await you, I dare say."
Meeks hurried away.. In twenty minutes
he was back again, with a beaming face.
"She is there and well!" he cried. "Name
"Two dollars," said Juggins.
When Meeks had settled his bill and de-
parted, Shamrock Jolnes stood with his hat
in his hand before Juggins.
"If it would not be asking too much," he
stammered "if you would favour me so far
would you object to
"Certainly not," said Juggins pleasantly.
"I will tell you how I did it. You remember
the description of Mrs. Snyder? Did you
ever know a womcin like that who wasn't
paying weekly instalments on an enlarged
crayon portrait of herself? The biggest fac-
tory of that kind in the country is just around
the corner. I went there and got her address
off the books. That's all."
THE COP AND THE ANTHEM
ON HIS bench in Madison Square Soapy
moved uneasily. When wild geese honk high
of nights, and when women without sealskin
coats grow kind to their husbands, and when
Soapy moves uneasily on his bench in the park,
you may know that winter is near at hand.
A dead leaf fell in Soapy's lap. That
was Jack Frost's card. Jack is kind to the
regular denizens of Madison Square, and
gives fair warning of his annual call. At
the corners of four streets he hands his paste-
board to the North Wind, footman of the
mansion of All Outdoors, so that the inhabi-
tants thereof may make ready.
Soapy's mind became cognizant of the fact
that the time had come for him to resolve
himself into a singular Committee of Ways
and Means to provide against the coming
rigour. And therefore he moved uneasily on
144 The Cop and the Anthem
The hibernatorial ambitions of Soapy were
not of the highest. In them there were no
considerations of Mediterranean cruises, of
soporific Southern skies, or drifting in the
Vesuvian Bay. Three months on the Island
was what his soul craved. Three months
of assured board and bed and congenial com-
pany, safe from Boreas and bluecoats, seemed
to Soapy the essence of things desirable.
For years the hospitable Blackwell's had
been his winter quarters. Just as his more
fortunate fellow New Yorkers had bought
their tickets to Palm Beach and the Riviera
each winter, so Soapy had made his humble
arrangements for his annual hegira to the
Island. And now the time was come. On
the previous night three Sabbath newspapers,
distributed beneath his coat, about his ankles,
and over his lap, had failed to repulse the
cold as he slept on his bench near tlie spurting
fountain in the ancient square. So the Is-
land loomed big and timely in Soapy's mind.
He scorned the provisions made in the name
of charity for the city's dependents. In
Soapy's opinion the Law was more benign
than Philanthropy. There was an endless
round of institutions, municipal and eleemosy-
The Cop and the Anthem 145
nary, on which he might set out and receive
lodging and food accordant with the simple
life. But to 'one of Soapy's proud spirit
the gifts of chanty are encumbered. If not
in coin you must pay in humiliation of spirit
for every benefit received at the hands of
philanthropy. As Caesar had his Brutus,
every bed of charity must have its toll of a
bath, every loaf of bread its compensation of
a private and personal inquisition. Where-
fore it is better to be a guest of the law, which,
though conducted by rules, does not meddle
unduly with a gentleman's private affairs.
Soapy, having decided to go to the Island,
at once set about accomplishing his desire.
There were many easy ways of doing this.
The pleasantest was to dine luxuriously at
some expensive restaurant; and then, after
declaring insolvency, be handed over quietly
and without uproar to a policeman. An
accommodating magistrate would do the
Soapy left his bench and strolled out of the
square and across the level sea of asphalt,
where Broadway and Fifth Avenue flow to-
gether. Up Broadway he turned, and halted
at a glittering cafe, where are gathered to-
146 The Cop and the Anthem
gether nightly the choicest products of the
grape, the silkworm, and the protoplasm.
Soapy had confidence in himself from the
lowest button of his vest upward. He was
shaven, and his coat was decent and his neat,
black, ready-tied four-in-hand had been pre-
sented to him by a lady missionary on Thanks-
giving Day. If he could reach a table in the
restaurant unsuspected success would be his.
The portion of him that would show above the
table would raise no doubt in the waiter's
mind. A roasted mallard duck, thought
Soapy, would be about the thing with a
bottle of Chablis, and then Camembert, a
demi-tasse and a cigar. One dollar for the
cigar would be enough. The total would not
be so high as to call forth any supreme mani-
festation of revenge from the cafe manage-
ment; and yet the meat would leave him filled
and happy for the journey to his winter refuge.
But as Soapy set foot inside the restaurant
door the head waiter's eye fell upon his frayed
trousers and decadent shoes. Strong and
ready hands turned him about and conveyed
him in silence and haste to the sidewalk and
averted the ignoble fate of the menaced
The Cop and the Anthem 147
Soapy turned off Broadway. It seemed
tfiat his route to the coveted island was not
to be an epicurean one. Some other way of
entering limbo must be thought of.
At a corner of Sixth Avenue electric lights
and cunningly displayed wares behind plate-
glass made a shop window conspicuous. Soapy
took a cobblestone and dashed it through the
glass. People came running around the cor-
ner, a policeman in the lead. Soapy stood still,
with his hands in his pockets, and smiled at the
sight of brass buttons.
"Where's the man that done that?" in-
quired the officer excitedly.
" Don't you figure out that I might have had
something to do with it?" said Soapy, not
without sarcasm, but friendly, as one greets
The policeman's mind refused to accept
Soapy even as a clue. Men who smash
windows do not remain to parley with the
law's minions. They take to their heels. The
policeman saw a man halfway down the block
running to catch a car. With drawn club
he joined in the pursuit. Soapy, with disgust
in his heart, loafed along, twice unsuccessful.
On the opposite side of the street was a
148 The Cop and the Anthem
restaurant of no great pretensions. It catered
to large appetites and modest purses. Its
crockery and atmosphere were thick; its soup
and napery thin. Into this place Soapy took
his accusive shoes and telltale trousers with-
out challenge. At a table Jie sat and con-
sumed beefsteak, flapjacks, doughnuts," and
pie. And then to the waiter'he betrayed the
fact that the minutest coin and himself were
"Now, get busy and call a cop," said
Soapy. "And don't keep a gentleman wait-
"No cop for youse," said the waiter, with a
voice like butter cakes and an eye like the
cherry in a Manhattan cocktail. "Hey,
Neatly upon his left ear on the callous pave-
ment two waiters pitched Soapy. He arose,
joint by joint, as a carpenter's rule opens, and
beat the dust from his clothes. Arrest seemed
but a rosy dream. The Island seemed very
far away. A policeman who stood before a
drug store two doors away laughed and walked
down the street.
Five blocks Soapy travelled before his
courage permitted him to woo capture again.
The Cop and the Anthem 149
This time the opportunity presented what he
fatuously termed to himself a "cinch." A
young woman of a modest and pleasing guise
was standing before a show window gazing
with sprightly interest at its display of shav-
ing mugs and inkstands, and two yards from
the window a large policeman of severe de-
meanour leaned against a water plug.
It was Soapy's design to assume the role
of the despicable and execrated "masher."
The refined and elegant appearance of his
victim and the contiguity of the conscientious
cop encouraged him to believe that he would
soon feel the pleasant official clutch upon his
arm that would insure his winter quarters on
the right little, tight little isle.
Soapy straightened the lady missionary's
ready-made tie, dragged his shrinking cuffs
into the open, set his hat at a killing cant, and
sidled toward the young woman. He made
eyes at her, was taken with sudden coughs
and "hems," smiled, smirked, and went braz-
enly through the impudent and contemptible
litany of the "masher." With half an eye
Soapy saw that the policeman was watching
him fixedly. The young woman moved away
a few steps, and again bestowed her absorbed
150 The Cop and the Anthem
attention upon the shaving mugs. Soapy
followed, boldly stepping to .her side, raised
his hat and said:
"Ah there, Bedelia! Don't you want to
come and play in my yard?"
The policeman was still looking. The per-
secuted young woman had but to beckon a
finger and Soapy would be practically en
route for his insular haven. Already he
imagined he could feel the cozy warmth of
the station-house. The young woman faced
him and, stretching out a hand, caught Soapy's
"Sure, Mike," she said joyfully " if you'll
blow me to a pail of suds. I'd have spoke to
you sooner, but the cop was watching."
With the young woman playing the clinging
ivy to his oak Soapy walked past the police-
man overcome with gloom. He seemed doomed
At the next corner he shook off his com-
panion and ran. He halted in the district
where by night are found the lightest streets,
hearts, vows, and librettos. Women in furs
and men in greatcoats moved gaily in the
wintry air. A sudden fear seized Soapy that
some dreadful enchantment had rendered
The Cop and the Anthem 151
him immune to arrest. The thought brought
a little of panic upon it, and when he came upon
another policeman lounging grandly in front
of a transplendent theatre he caught at the
immediate straw of "disorderly conduct."
On the sidewalk Soapy began to yell
drunken gibberish at the top of his harsh
voice. He danced, howled, raved, and other-
wise disturbed the welkin.
The policeman twirled his club, turned his
back to Soapy, and remarked to a citizen:
' 'Tis one of them Yale lads celebratin' the
goose egg they give to the Hartford College.
Noisy; but no harm. We've instructions to
lave them be."
Disconsolate, Soapy ceased his unavailing
racket. Would never a policeman lay hands
on him? In his fancy the Island seemed an
unattainable Arcadia. He buttoned his thin
coat against the chilling wind.
In a cigar store he saw a well-dressed man
lighting a cigar at a swinging light. His silk
umbrella he had set by the door on entering.
Soapy stepped inside, secured the umbrella,
and sauntered off with it slowly The man
at the cigar light followed hastily.
"My umbrella," he said sternly.
152 The Cop and the Anthem
"Oh, is it?" sneered Soapy, adding insult
to petit larceny. "Well, why don't you call a
policeman ? I took it. Your umbrella ! Why
don't you call a cop ? There stands one on the
The umbrella owner slowed his steps.
Soapy did likewise, with a presentiment that
luck would again run against him. The police-
man looked at the two curiously.
"Of course," said the umbrella man
"that is well, you know how these mistakes
occur I if it's your umbrella I hope you'll
excuse me I picked it up this morning in a
restaurant if you recognize it as yours, why
-I hope you'll-
"Of course it's mine," said Soapy vi-
The ex-umbrella man retreated. The
policeman hurried to assist a tall blonde in
an opera cloak across the street in front of
a street car that was approaching two blocks
Soapy walked eastward through a street
damaged by improvements. He hurled the
umbrella wrathfully into an excavation. He
muttered against the men who wear helmets
and carry clubs. Because he wanted to fall
The Cop and the Anthem 153
into their clutches, they seemed to regard him
as a king who could do no wrong.
At length Soapy reached one of the avenues
to the east where the glitter and turmoil was
but faint. He set his face down this toward
Madison Square, for the homing instinct
survives even when the home is a park bench.
But on an unusually quiet corner Soapy
came to a standstill. Here was an old church,
quaint and rambling and gabled. Through
one violet-stained window a soft light glowed,
where, no doubt, the organist loitered over
the keys, making sure of his mastery of the
coming Sabbath anthem. For there drifted
out to Soapy's ears sweet music that caught
and held him transfixed against the convolu-
tions of the iron fence.
The moon was above, lustrous and serene;
vehicles and pedestrians were few; sparrows
twittered sleepily in the eaves for a little
while the scene might have been a country
churchyard. And the anthem that the organ-
ist played cemented Soapy to the iron fence,
for he had known it well in the days when
his life contained such things as mothers and
roses and ambitions and friends and immacu-
late thoughts and collars,
154 The Cop and the Anthem
The conjunction of Soapy's receptive state
of mind and the influences about the old
church wrought a sudden and wonderful
change in his soul. He viewed with swift
horror the pit into which he had tumbled,
the degraded days, unworthy desires, dead
hopes, wrecked faculties, and base motives
that made up his existence.
And also in a moment his heart responded
thrillingly to this novel mood. An instan-
taneous and strong impulse moved him to
battle with his desperate fate. He would
pull himself out of the mire ; he would make a
man of himself again; he would conquer the
evil that had taken possession of him. There
was time; he was comparatively young yet;
he would resurrect his old eager ambitions
and pursue them without faltering. Those
solemn but sweet organ notes had set up a
revolution in him. To-morrow he would
go into the roaring downtown district and
find work. A fur importer had once offered
him a place as driver. He would find him
to-morrow and ask for the position. He
would be somebody in the world. He
Soapy felt a hand laid on his arm. He
The Cop and the Anthem 155
looked quickly around into the broad face of a
"What are you doin' here?" asked the
"Nothin'," said Soapy.
"Then come along," said the policeman.
"Three months on the Island," said the
Magistrate in the Police Court the next
THE FOREIGN POLICY OF COMPANY 99
JOHN BYRNES,, hose-cart driver of Engine
Company No. 99, was afflicted with what his
comrades called Japanitis.
Byrnes had a war map spread permanently
upon a table in the second story of the engine-
house, and he could explain to you at any
hour of the day or night the exact positions,
conditions, and intentions of both the Russian
and Japanese armies. He had little clus-
ters of pins stuck in the map which represented
the opposing forces, and these he moved about
from day to day in conformity with the war
news in the daily papers.
Wherever the Japs won a victory John
Byrnes would shift his pins, and then he
would execute a war dance of delight, and
the other firemen would hear him yell: "Go
it, you blamed little, sawed-off, huckleberry-
eyed, monkey-faced hot tamales! Eat 'em
up, you little sleight-o'-hand, bow-legged bull
The Foreign Policy of Company 99 157
terriers give 'em another of them Yalu
looloos, and you'll eat rice in St. Petersburg.
Talk about your Russians say, wouldn't
they give you a painsky when it comes to a
Not even on the fair island of Nippon was
there a more enthusiastic champion of the
Mikado's men. Supporters of the Russian
cause did well to keep clear of Engine House
Sometimes all thoughts of the Japs left
John Byrnes's head. That was when the
alarm of fire had sounded and he was strapped
in his driver's seat on the swaying cart, guiding
Erebus and Joe, the finest team in the whole
department according to the crew of 99.
Of all the codes adopted by man for regulat-
ing his actions toward his fellow-mortals, the
greatest are these the code of King Arthur's
Knights of the Round Table, the Constitu-
tion of the United States, and the unwritten
rules of the New York Fire Department. The
Round Table methods are no longer prac-
ticable since the invention of street cars and
breach-of-promise suits, and our Constitution
is being found more and more unconstitu-
tional every day, so the code of our firemen
158 The Foreign Policy of Company 99
must be considered in the lead, with the
Golden Rule and Jeffries's new punch trying
for place and show.
The Constitution says that one man is as
good as another; but the Fire Department
says he is better. This is a too generous
theory, but the law will not allow itself to be
construed otherwise. All of which comes
perilously near to being a paradox, and com-
mends itself to the attention of the S. P. C. A.
One of the transatlantic liners dumped out
at Ellis Island a lump of protozoa which was
expected to evolve into an American citizen.
A steward kicked him down the gangway, -a
doctor pounced upon his eyes like a raven,
seeking for trachoma or ophthalmia; he was
hustled ashore and ejected into the city in
the name of Liberty perhaps, theoretically,
thus inoculating against kingocracy with a
drop of its own virus. This hypodermic in-
jection of Europeanism wandered happily
into the veins of the city with the broad grin
of a pleased child. It was not burdened with
baggage, cares, or ambitions. Its body was
lithely built and clothed in a sort of foreign
fustian; its face was brightly vacant, with a
small, flat nose, and was mostly covered by a
The Foreign Policy of Company 99 159
thick, ragged, curling beard like the coat of a
spaniel. In the pocket of the imported Thing
were a few coins denarii scudi kopecks
pfennigs pilasters whatever the financial
nomenclature of his unknown country may
Prattling to himself, always broadly grin-
ning, pleased by the roar and movement of
the barbarous city into which the steamship
cut-rates had shunted him, the alien strayed
away from the sea, which he hated, as far as
the district covered by Engine Company
No. 99. Light as a cork, he was kept bobbing
along by the human tide, the crudest atom in
all the silt of the stream that emptied into
the reservoir of Liberty.
While crossing Third Avenue he slowed his
steps, enchanted by the thunder of the ele-
vated trains above him and the soothing crash
of the wheels on the cobbles. And then
there was a new, delightful chord in the up-
roar the musical clanging of a gong and a
great shining juggernaut belching fire and
smoke, that people were hurrying to see.
This beautiful thing, entrancing to the eye,
dashed past, and the protoplasmic immigrant
stepped into the wake of it with his broad,
160 The Foreign Policy of Company 99
enraptured, uncomprehending grin. And so
stepping, stepped into the path of No. 99*3
flying hose-cart, with John Byrnes gripping,
with arms of steel, the reins over the plunging
backs of Erebus and Joe.
The unwritten constitutional code of the
fireman has no exceptions or amendments.
It is a simple thing as simple as the rule of
three. There was the heedless unit in the
right of way; there was the hose-cart and the
iron pillar of the elevated railroad.
John Byrnes swung all his weight and mus-
cle on the left rein. The team and cart swerved
that way and crashed like a torpedo into the
pillar. The men on the cart went flying
like skittles. The driver's strap burst, the
pillar rang with the shock, and John Byrnes
fell on the car track with a broken shoulder,
twenty feet away, while Erebus beautiful,
raven-black, best-loved Erebus lay whicker-
ing in his harness with a broken leg.
In consideration for the feelings of Engine
Company No. 99 the details will be lightly
touched. The company does not like to be
reminded of that day. There was a great
crowd, and hurry calls were sent in ; and while
the ambulance gong was clearing the way the
The Foreign Policy of Company 99 161
men of No. 99 heard the crack of the S. P.
C. A. agent's pistol, and turned their heads
away, not daring to look toward Erebus again.
When the firemen got back to the engine-
house they found that one of them was^drag-
ging by the collar the cause of their desolation
and grief. They set it in the middle of the
floor and gathered grimly about it. Through
its whiskers the calamitous object chattered
effervescently and waved its hands.
"Sounds like a seidlitz powder/' said Mike
Dowling, disgustedly, "and it makes me
sicker than one. Call that a man! that
hoss was worth a steamer full of such two-
legged animals. It's a immigrant that's
what it is."
"Look at the doctor's chalk mark on its
coat," said Reilly, the desk man. "It's just
landed. It must be a kind of a Dago or a
Hun or one of them Finns, I guess. That's the
kind of truck that Europe unloads onto us."
"Think of a thing like that getting in the
way and laying John up in hospital and spoil-
ing the best fire team in the city," groaned
another fireman. "It ought to be taken
down to the dock and drowned."
"Somebody go around and get Sloviski,"
1 62 The Foreign Policy of Company 99
suggested the engine driver, "and let's see
what nation is responsible for this conglom-
eration of hair and head noises."
Sloviski kept a delicatessen store around
the corner on Third Avenue, and was reputed
to be a linguist.
One of the men fetched him a fat, cring-
ing man, with a discursive eye and the_odours
of many kinds of meats upon him.
"Take a whirl at this importation with your
jawbreakers, Sloviski," requested Mike Dowl-
ing. "We can't quite figure out whether he's
from the Hackensack bottoms or Hongkong-
Sloviski addressed the stranger in several
dialects, that ranged in rhythm and cadence
from the sounds produced by a tonsillitis
gargle to the opening of a can of tomatoes
with a pair of scissors. The immigrant replied
in accents resembling the uncorking of a bottle
of ginger ale.
"I have you his name," reported Sloviski.
"You shall not pronounce it. Writing of it in
paper is better." They gave him paper, and
he wrote, "Demetre Svangvsk."
"Looks like short hand," said the desk man.
"He speaks some language," continued the
The Foreign Policy of Company 99 163
interpreter, wiping his forehead, "of Austria
and mixed with a little Turkish. And, den,
he have some Magyar words and a Polish
or two, and many like the Roumanian, but not
without talk of one tribe in Bessarabia. I do
not him quite understand/'
"Would you call him a Dago or a Polocker,
or what?" asked Mike, frowning at the poly-
"He is a" answered Sloviski "he is a
I dink he come from I dink he is a fool,"
he concluded, impatient at his linguistic
failure, "and if you pleases I will go back at
"Whatever he is, he's a bird," said Mike
Dowling; "and you want to watch him fly."
Taking by the wing the alien fowl that had
fluttered into the nest of Liberty, Mike led
him to the door of the engine-house and be-
stowed upon him a kick hearty enough to
convey the entire animus of Company 99.
Demetre Svangvsk hustled away down the
sidewalk, turning once to show his ineradicable
grin to the aggrieved firemen.
In three weeks John Byrnes was back at his
post from the hospital. With great gusto he
proceeded to bring his war map up to date.
164 The Foreign Policy of Company 99
"My money on the Japs every time," he de-
clared. "Why, look at them Russians
they're nothing but wolves. Wipe 'em out,
I say and the little old jiu jitsu gang are just
the cherry blossoms to do the trick, and don't
you forget it!"
The second day after Byrnes's reappear-
ance came Demetre Svangvsk, the unidenti-
fied, to the engine-house with a broader grin
than ever. He managed to convey the idea
that he wished to congratulate the hose-cart
driver on his recovery and to apologize for
having caused the accident. This he accom-
plished by so many extravagant gestures and
explosive noises that the company was di-
verted for half an hour. Then they kicked him
out again, and on the next day he_came back
grinning. How or where he lived no one
knew. And then John Byrnes's nine-year-
old son Chris, who brought him convalescent
delicacies from home to eat, took a fancy to
Svangvsk, and they allowed him to loaf about
the door of the engine-house occasionally.
One afternoon the big drab automobile of
the Deputy Fire Commissioner buzzed up to
the door of No. 99 and the Deputy stepped
inside for an informal inspection. The men
The Foreign Policy of Company 99 163
kicked Svangvsk out a little harder than usual
and proudly escorted the Deputy around 99, in
which everything shone like my lady's mirror.
The Deputy respected the sorrow of the
company concerning the loss of Erebus, and
he had come to promise it another mate for
Joe that would do him credit. So they let
Joe out of his stall and showed the Deputy
how deserving he was of the finest mate that
could be in horsedom.
While they were circling around Joe con-
fabbing, Chris climbed into the Deputy's
auto and threw the power full on. The men
heard a monster puffing and a shriek from the
lad, and sprang out too late. The big auto
shot away, luckily taking a straight course
down the street. The boy knew nothing of
its machinery; he sat clutching the cushions
and howling. With the power on nothing
could have stopped that auto except a brick
house, and there was nothing for Chris to
gain by such a stoppage.
Demetre Svangvsk was just coming in
again with a grin for another kick when Chris
played his merry little prank. While the
others sprang for the door Demetre sprang
for" Joe. He glided upon the horse's bare
1 66 The Foreign Policy of Company 99
back like a snake and shouted something at
him like the crack of a dozen whips. One
of the firemen afterward swore that Joe
answered him back in the same language.
Ten seconds after the auto started the big
horse was eating up the asphalt behind it like
a strip of macaroni.
Some people two blocks and a half away
saw the rescue. They said that the auto was
nothing but a drab noise with a black speck
in the middle of it for Chris, when a big bay
horse with a lizard lying on its back cantered
up alongside of it, and the lizard reached over
and picked the black speck out of the noise.
Only fifteen minutes after Svangvsk's last
kicking at the hands or rather the feet of
Engine Company No. 99 he rode Joe back
through the dcor with the boy safe, but acutely
conscious of the licking he was going to receive.
Svangvsk slipped to the floor, leaned his
head against Joe's, and made a noise like a
clucking hen. Joe nodded and whistled loudly
through his nostrils, putting to shame the
knowledge of Sloviski, of the delicatessen.
John Byrnes walked up to Svangvsk, who
grinned, expecting to be kicked. Byrnes
gripped the outlander so strongly by the hand
The Foreign Policy of Company 99 167
that Demetre grinned anyhow, conceiving it
to be a new form of punishment.
"The heathen rides like a Cossack," re-
marked a fireman who had seen a Wild West
show "they're the greatest riders in the
The word seemed to electrify Svangvsk.
He grinned wider than ever.
"Yas yas me Cossack," he spluttered,
striking his cheat.
"Cossack!" repeated John Byrnes, thought-
fully, "ain't that a kind of a Russian?"
^"They're one of the Russian tribes, sure,"
said the desk man, who read books between
Just then Alderman Foley, who was on his
way home and did not know of the runaway,
stopped at the door of the engine-house and
called to Byrnes:
"Hello, there, Jimmy, me boy how's the
war coming along? Japs still got the bear on
the trot, have they?"
"Oh, I don't know," said John ^Byrnes,
argumentatively, "them Japs haven't got
any walkover. You wait till Kuropatkin
gets a good whack at 'em and they won't be
knee-high to a puddle-ducks ky."
MEMOIRS OF A YELLOW DOG
I DON'T suppose it will knock any of you
people off your perch to read a contribution
from an animal. Mr. Kipling and a good
many others have demonstrated the fact
that animals can express themselves in re-
munerative English, and no magazine goes
to press nowadays without an animal story
in it, except the old-style monthlies that are
still running pictures of Bryan and the Mont
But you needn't look for any stuck-up
literature in my piece, such as Bearoo, the
bear, and Snakoo, the snake, and Tammanoo,
the tiger, talk in the jungle books. A yellow
dog that's spent most of his life in a cheap
New York flat, sleeping in a corner on an old
sateen underskirt (the one she spilled port
wine on at the Lady 'Longshoremen's ban-
quet), mustn't be expected to perform any
tricks with the art of speech.
Memoirs of a Yellow Dog 169
I was born a yellow pup; date, locality,
pedigree, and weight unknown. The first
thing I can recollect, an old woman had me
in a basket at Broadway and Twenty-third
trying to sell me to a fat lady. Old Mother
Hubbard was boosting me to beat the band
as a genuine Pomeranian-Hambletonian-Red-
Irish-Cochin-China-Stoke-Pogis fox terrier.
The fat lady chased a V around among the
samples of gros grain flannelette in her shop-
ping bag till she cornered it, and gave up.
From that moment I was a pet a mamma's
own wootsey squidlums. Say, gentle reader,
did you ever have a 2OO-pound woman breath-
ing a flavour of Camembert cheese and Peau
d'Espagne pick you up and wallop her nose
all over you, remarking all the time in an
Emma Eames tone of voice: "Oh, oo's um
oodlum, doodlum, woodlum, toodlum, bitsy-
From a pedigreed yellow pup I grew up to
be an anonymous yellow cur looking like a
cross between an Angora cat and a box of
lemons. But my mistress never tumbled.
She thought that the two primeval pups that
Noah chased into the ark were but a col-
lateral branch of my ancestors. It took two
170 Memoirs of a Yellow Dog
policemen to keep her from entering me at
the Madison Square Garden for the Siberian
Til tell you about that flat. The house was
the ordinary thing in New York, paved with
Parian marble in the entrance hall and cobble-
stones above the first floor. Our flat was
three fl well, not flights climbs up. My
mistress rented it unfurnished, and put in
the regular things 1903 antique unholstered
parlour set, oil chromo of geishas in a Harlem
tea house, rubber plant, and husband.
By Sirius! there was a biped I felt sorry
for. He was a little man with sandy hair and
whiskers a good deal like mine. Henpecked?
well, toucans and flamingoes and pelicans
all had their bills in him. He wiped the
dishes and listened to my mistress tell about
the cheap, ragged things the lady with the
squirrel-skin coat on the second floor hung
out on her line to dry. And every evening
while she was getting supper she made him
take me out on the end of a string for a
If men knew how women pass the time
when they are alone they'd never marry.
Laura Lean Jibbey, peanut brittle, a little
Memoirs of a Yellow Dog 171
almond cream on the neck muscles, dishes
unwashed, half an, hour's talk with the ice-
man, reading a package of old letters, a
couple of pickles and two bottles of malt ex-
tract, one hour peeking through a hole in
the window shade into the flat across the
air-shaft that's about all there is to it.
Twenty minutes before time for him to
come home from work she straightens up
the house, fixes her rat so it won't show,
and gets out a lot of sewing for a ten-minute
I led a dog's life in that flat. 'Most all
day I lay there in my corner watching that
fat woman kill time. I slept sometimes and
had pipe dreams about being out chasing
cats into basements and growling at old ladies
with black mittens, as a dog was intended
to do. Then she would pounce upon me
with a lot of that drivelling poodle palaver
and kiss me on the nose but what could I
do ? A dog can't chew cloves.
I began to feel sorry for Hubby, dog my
cats if I didn't. We looked so much alike
that people noticed it when we went out; so
we shook the streets that Morgan's cab drives
down, and took to climbing the piles of last
172 Memoirs of a Yellow Dog
December's snow on the streets where cheap
One evening when we were thus promenading,
and I was trying to look like a prize St. Bernard,
and the old man was trying to look like he
wouldn't have murdered the first organ-grinder
he heard play Mendelssohn's wedding-march,
I looked up at him and said, in my way:
"What are you looking so sour about, you
oakum trimmed lobster? She don't kiss you,
You don't have to sit on her lap and listen
to talk that would make the book of a musical
comedy sound like the maxims of Epictetus.
You ought to be thankful you're not a dog.
Brace up, Benedick, and bid the blues be-
The matrimonial mishap looked down at me
with almost canine intelligence in his face.
"Why, doggie," says he, "good doggie.
You almost look like you could speak. What
is it, doggie Cats?"
Cats! Could speak!
But, of course, he couldn't understand.
Humans were denied the speech of animals.
The only common ground of communication
upon which dogs and men can get together
is in fiction.
Memoirs of a Yellow Dog 173
In the flat across the hall from us lived a
lady with a black-and-tan terrier. Her hus-
band strung it and took it out every evening,
but he always came home cheerful and whist-
ling. One day I touched noses with the
black-and-tan in the hall, and 'I struck him
for an elucidation.
"See here, Wiggle-and-Skip," I says, "you
know that it ain't the nature of a real man to
play dry nurse to a dog in public. I never
saw one leashed to a bow-wow yet that
didn't look like he'd like to lick every other
man that looked at him. But your boss
comes in every day as perky and set up as an
amateur prestidigitator doing the egg trick.
How does he do it? Don't tell me he likes
"Him?" says the black-and-tan. "Why,
he uses Nature's Own Remedy. He gets spif-
flicated. At first when we go out he's as shy
as the man on the steamer who would rather
play pedro when they make 'em all jackpots.
By the time we've been in eight saloons he
don't care whether the thing on the end of
his line is a dog or a catfish. I've lost two
inches of my tail trying to sidestep those
174 Memoirs of a Yellow Dog
The pointer I got from that terrier vaude-
ville please copy set me to thinking.
One evening about 6 o'clock my mistress
ordered him to get busy and do the ozone act
for Lovey. I have concealed it until now,
but that is what she called me. The black-
and-tan was called "Tweetness." I consider
that I have the bulge on him as far as you
could chase a rabbit. Still "Lovey" is some-
thing of a nomenclatural tin can on the tail
of one's self-respect.
At a quiet place on a safe street I tightened
the line of my custodian in front of an at-
tractive, refined saloon. I made a dead-
ahead scramble for the doors, whining like
a dog in the press despatches that lets the
family know that little Alice is bogged while
gathering lilies in the brook.
"Why, darn my eyes," says the old man,
with a grin; "darn my eyes if the saffron-
coloured son of a seltzer lemonade ain't ask-
ing me in to take a drink. Lemme see-
how long's it been since I saved shoe leather
by keeping one foot on the foot-rest? I
I knew I had him. Hot Scotches he took,
sitting at a table. For an hour he kept the
Memoirs of a Yellow Dog 175
Campbells coming. I sat by his side rapping
for the waiter with my tail, and eating free
lunch such as mamma in her flat never
equalled with her homemade truck bought at a
delicatessen store eight minutes before papa
When the products of Scotland were all
exhausted except the rye bread the old man un-
wound me from the table leg and played me
outside like a fisherman plays a salmon.
Out there he took off my collar and threw it
into the street.
"Poor doggie," says he; "good doggie.
She shan't kiss you any more. 'S a darned
shame. Good doggie, go away and get run
over by a street car and be happy."
I refused to leave. I leaped and frisked
around the old man's legs happy as a pug on a
"You old flea-headed woodchuck-chaser,"
I said to him "you moon-baying, rabbit-
pointing, egg-stealing old beagle, can't you
see that I don't want to leave you? Can't
you see that we're both Pups in the Wood
and the missis is the cruel uncle after you
with the dish towel and me with the flea
liniment and a pink bow to tie on my tail.
176 Memoirs of a Yellow Dog
Why not cut that all out and be pards forever
Maybe you'll say he didn't understand
maybe he didn't. But he kind of got a grip
on the Hot Scotches, and stood still for a
"Doggie," says he, finally, "we don't
live more than a dozen lives on this earth,
and very few of us live to be more than
500. If I ever see that flat any more I'm
a flat, and if you do you're flatter; and
that's no flattery. I'm offering 60 to i that
Westward Ho wins out by the length of a
There was no string, but I frolicked along
with my master to the Twenty-third Street
ferry. And the cats on the route saw reason
to give thanks that prehensile claws had been
On the Jersey side my master said to a
stranger who stood eating a currant bun :
"Me and my doggie, we are bound for the
But what pleased me most was when my old
man pulled both of my ears until I howled,
"You common, monkey-headed, rat-tailed,
Memoirs of a Yellow Dog 177
sulphur-coloured son of a door mat, do you
know what I'm going to call you ?"
I thought of "Lovey," and I whined dole-
"I'm going to call you 'Pete,'" says my
master; and if I'd had five tails I couldn't
have done enough wagging to do justice to
LOST ON DRESS PARADE
MR. TOWERS CHANDLER was pressing his
evening suit in his hall bedroom. One iron
was heating on a small gas stove; the other
was being pushed vigorously back and forth
to make the desirable crease that would be
seen later on extending in straight lines from
Mr. Chandler's patent leather shoes to the
edge of his low-cut vest. So much of the
hero's toilet may be intrusted to our con-
fidence. The remainder may be guessed by
those whom genteel poverty has driven to
ignoble expedient. Our next view of him shall
be as he descends the steps of his lodging-
house immaculately and correctly clothed;
calm, assured, handsome in appearance the
typical New York young clubman setting out,
slightly bored, to inaugurate the pleasures
of the evening.
Chandler's honorarium was $18 per week.
He was employed in the office of an architect,
Lost on Dress Parade 179
He was twenty-two years old; he considered
architecture to be truly an art ; and he honestly
believed though he would not have dared
to admit it in New York that the Flatiron
Building was inferior in design to the great
cathedral in Milan.
Out of each week's earnings Chandler set
aside $i. At the end of each ten weeks with
the extra capital thus accumulated, he pur-
chased one gentleman's evening from the
bargain counter of stingy old Father Time.
He arrayed himself in the regalia of million-
aires and presidents; he took himself to the
quarter where life is brightest and showiest,
and there clined with taste and luxury. With
ten dollars a man may, for a few hours, play
the wealthy idler to perfection. The sum is
ample for a well-considered meal, a bottle
bearing a respectable label, commensurate
tips, a smoke, cab fare, and the ordinary
This one delectable evening culled from
each dull seventy was to Chandler a source
of renascent bliss. To the society bud comes
but one debut; it stands alone sweet in her
memory when her hair has whitened; but to
Chandler each ten weeks brought a joy as
180 Lost on Dress Parade
keen, as thrilling, as new as the first had
been. To sit among bon vivants under palms in
the swirl of concealed music, to look upon the
habitues of such a paradise and to be looked
upon by them what is a girl's first dance and
short-sleeved tulle compared with this?
Up Broadway Chandler moved with the
vespertine dress parade. For this evening he
was an exhibit as well as a gazer. For the
next sixty-nine evenings he would be dining
in cheviot and worsted at dubious table
d'hotes, at whirlwind lunch counters, on sand-
wiches and beer in his hall bedroom. He was
willing to do that, for he was a true son of the
great city of razzle-dazzle, and to him one
evening in the limelight made up for many
Chandler protracted his walk until the
Forties began to intersect the great and
glittering primrose way, for the evening was
yet young, and when one is of the beau
monde only one day in seventy, one loves to
protract the pleasure. Eyes bright, sinister,
curious, admiring, provocative, alluring were
bent upon him, for his garb and air pro-
claimed him a devotee to the hour of solace
Lost on Dress Parade 181
At a certain corner he came to a standstill,
proposing to himself the question of turning
back toward the showy and fashionable
restaurant in which he usually dined on the
evenings of his especial luxury. Just then a
girl scudded lightly around the corner, slipped
on a patch of icy snow, and fell plump upon
Chandler assisted her to her feet with
instant and solicitous courtesy. The girl
hobbled to the wall of the building, leaned
against it, and thanked him demurely.
"I think my ankle is strained/' she said.
"It twisted when I fell."
"Does it pain you much?" inquired Chand-
"Only when I rest my weight upon it. I
think I will be able to walk in a minute or
"If I can be of any further service,"
suggested the young man, "I will call a cab,
" Thank you," said the girl, softly but
heartily. "I am sure you need not trouble
yourself any further. It was so awkward of
me. And my shoe heels are horridly common-
sense: I can't blame them at all."
1 82 Lost on Dress Parade
Chandler looked at the girl and found her
swiftly drawing his interest. She was pretty
in a refined way; and her eye was both
merry and kind. She was inexpensively clothed
in a plain black dress that suggested a sort
of uniform such as shop girls wear. Her
glossy dark-brown hair showed its coils be-
neath a cheap hat of black straw whose only
ornament was a velvet ribbon and bow. She
could have posed as a model for the self-
respecting working girl of the best type.
A sudden idea came into the head of the
young architect. He would ask this girl to
dine with him. Here was the element that
his splendid but solitary periodic feasts had
lacked. His brief season of elegant luxury
would be doubly enjoyable if he could add to
it a lady's society. This girl was a lady, he
was sure her manner and speech settled
that. And in spite of her extremely plain
attire he felt that he would be pleased to sit
at table with her.
These thoughts passed swiftly through his
mind, and he decided to ask her. It was a
breach of etiquette, of course, but oftentimes
wage-earning girls waived formalities in mat-
ters of this kind. They were generally
Lost on Dress Parade 183
shrewd judges of men; and thought better of
their own judgment than they did of useless
conventions. His ten dollars, discreetly ex-
pended, would enable the two to dine very
well indeed. The dinner would no doubt be
a wonderful experience thrown into the dull
routine of the girl's life; and her lively ap-
preciation of it would add to his own triumph
"I think," he said to her, with frank
gravity, "that your foot needs a longer rest
than you suppose. Now, I am going to
suggest a way in which you can give it that
and at the same time do me a favour. I was
on my way to dine all by my lonely self when
you came tumbling around the corner. You
come with me and we'll have a cozy dinner
and a pleasant talk together, and by that
time your game ankle will carry you home
very nicely, I am sure."
The girl looked quickly up into Chandler's
clear, pleasant countenance. Her eyes
twinkled once very brightly, and then she
"But we don't know each other it would-
n't be right, would it?" she said doubtfully.
"There is nothing wrong about it," said
184 Lost on Dress Parade
the young man candidly. "I'll introduce
myself permit me Mr. Towers Chandler.
After our dinner, which I will try to make as
pleasant as possible, I will bid you good-
evening, or attend you safely to your door,
whichever you prefer."
"But, dear me!" said the girl, with a
glance at Chandler's faultless attire. "In
this old dress and hat!"
"Never mind that," said Chandler cheer-
fully. "I'm sure you look more charming in
them than any one we shall see in the most
elaborate dinner toilette."
"My ankle does hurt yet," admitted the
girl, attempting a limping step. "I think
I will accept your invitation, Mr. Chandler.
You may call me Miss Marian."
"Come, then, Miss Marian," said the young
architect, gaily, but with perfect courtesy;
"you will not have far to walk. There is a
very respectable and good restaurant in the
next block. You will have to lean on my
arm so and walk slowly. It is lonely
dining all by one's self. I'm just a little bit
glad that you slipped on the ice."
When the two were established at a well-
appointed table, with a promising waiter
Lost on Dress Parade 185
hovering in attendance, Chandler began to
experience the real joy that his regular outing
always brought to him.
The restaurant was not so showy or pre-
tentious as the one farther down Broadway,
which he always preferred, but it was nearly
so. The tables were well filled with
prosperous-looking diners, there was a good
orchestra, playing softly enough to make
conversation a possible pleasure, and the
cuisine and service were beyond criticism.
His companion, even in her cheap hat and
dress, held herself with an air that added
distinction to the natural beauty of her face
and figure. And it is certain that she looked
at Chandler, with his animated but self-
possessed manner and his kindling and frank
blue eyes, with something not far from ad-
miration in her own charming face.
Then it was that the Madness of Man-
hattan, the Frenzy of Fuss and Feathers, the
Bacillus of Brag, the Provincial Plague of
Pose seized upon Towers Chandler. He was
on Broadway, surrounded by pomp and
style, and there were eyes to look at him.
On the stage of that comedy he had assumed
to play the one-night part of a butterfly of
1 86 Lost on Dress Parade
fashion and an idler of means and taste. He
was dressed for the part, and all his good
angels had not the power to prevent him
from acting it.
So he began to prate to Miss Marian of
clubs, of teas, of golf and riding and kennels
and cotillions and tours abroad and threw
out hints of a yatch lying at Larchmont. He
could see that she was vastly impressed by
this vague talk, so he endorsed his pose by
random insinuations concerning great wealth,
and mentioned familiarly a few names that
are handled reverently by the proletariat. It
was Chandler's short little day, and he was
wringing from it the best that could be had,
as he saw it. And yet once or twice he saw
the pure gold of this girl shine through the
mist that his egotism had raised between
him and all objects.
"This way of living that you speak of," she
said, "sounds so futile and purposeless.
Haven't you any work to do in the world
that might interest you more?"
"My dear Miss Marian," he exclaimed-
"work! Think of dressing every day for
dinner, of making half a dozen calls in an
afternoon with a policeman at every corner
Lost on Dress Parade 187
ready to jump into your auto and take you
to the station if you get up any greater
speed than a donkey cart's gait. We do-
nothings are the hardest workers in the
The dinner was concluded, the waiter
generously feed, and the two walked out to
the corner where they had met. Miss Marian
walked very well now; her limp was scarcely
"Thank you for a nice time," she said
frankly. "I must run home now. I liked
the dinner very much, Mr. Chandler."
He shook hands with her, smiling cordially,
and said something about a game of bridge
at his club. He watched her for a moment,
walking rather rapidly eastward, and then he
found a cab to drive him slowly homeward.
In his chilly bedroom Chandler laid away
his evening clothes for a sixty-nine days' rest.
He went about it thoughtfully.
"That was a stunning girl," he said to
himself. "She's all right, too, I'd be sworn,
even is she does have to work. Perhaps if
I'd told her the truth instead of all that
razzle-dazzle we might but, confound it! I
had to play up to my clothes."
i88 Lost on Dress Parade
Thus spoke the brave who was born and
reared in the wigwams of the tribe of the
The girl, after leaving her entertainer, sped
swiftly cross-town until she arrived at a
handsome and sedate mansion two squares to
the east, facing on that avenue which is the
highway of Mammon and the auxiliary gods.
Here she entered hurriedly and ascended
to a room where a handsome young lady in
an elaborate house dress was looking anxiously
out the window.
"Oh, you, madcap!" exclaimed the elder
girl, when the other entered. "When will
you quit frightening us this way? It is two
hours since you ran out in that rag of an old
dress and Marie's hat. Mamma has been so
alarmed. She sent Louis in the auto to try
to find you. You are a bad, thoughtless
The elder girl touched a button, and a
maid came in a moment.
"Marie, tell mamma that Miss Marian
"Don't scold, sister. I only ran down to
Mme. Theo's to tell her to use mauve in-
*^-rtion instead of pink. My costume am*
Lost on Dress Parade 189
Marie's hat were just what I needed. Every
one thought I was a shopgirl, I am sure."
"Dinner is over, dear; you stayed so late."
"I know. I slipped on the sidewalk and
turned my ankle. I could not walk, so I
hobbled into a restaurant and sat there until
I was better. That is why I was so long."
The two girls sat in the window seat,
looking out at the lights and the stream of
hurrying vehicles in the avenue. The younger
one cuddled down with her head in her
"We will have to marry some day," she
said dreamily "both of us. We have so
much money that we will not be allowed to
disappoint the public. Do you want me to
tell you the kind of a man I could love, Sis?"
"Go on, you scatterbrain/' smiled the
"I could love a man with dark and kind
blue eyes, who is gentle and respectful to poor
girls, who is handsome and good and does not
try to flirt. But I could love him only if he
had an ambition, an object, some work to do
in the world. I would not care how poor he
was if I could help him build his way up.
But, sister dear, the kind of man we always
190 Lost on Dress Parade
meet the man who lives an idle life between
society and his clubs I could not love a
man like that, even if 1 his eyes were blue and
he were ever so kind to poor girls whom he
met in the street."
THE LOVE-PHILTRE OF IKEY SCHOENSTEIN
THE Blue Light Drug Store is downtown,
between the Bowery and First Avenue, where
the distance between the two streets is the
shortest. The Blue Light does not consider
that pharmacy is a thing of bric-a-brac, scent,
and ice-cream soda. If you ask it for pain-
killer it will not give you a bonbon.
The Blue Light scorns tfie labour-saving
arts of modern pharmacy. It macerates its
opium and percolates its own laudanum and
paregoric. To this day pills are made behind
its tall prescription desk pills rolled out on
its own pill-tile, divided with a spatula, rolled
with the ringer and thumb, dusted with cal-
cined magnesia, and delivered in little round
pasteboard pill-boxes. The store is on a
corner about which coveys of ragged-plumed,
hilarious children play and become candidates
for the cough drops and soothing syrups that
wait for them inside.
192 The Love-Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein
Ikey Schoenstein was the night clerk of the
Blue Light and the friend of his customers.
Thus it is on the East Side, where the heart of
pharmacy is not glace. There, as it should
be, the druggist is a counsellor, a confessor, an
adviser, an able and willing missionary and
mentor whose learning is respected, whose
occult wisdom is venerated, and whose medi-
cine is often poured, untasted, into the gutter.
Therefore Ikey's corniform, be-spectacled nose
and narrow, knowledge-bowed figure was well
known in the vicinity of the Blue Light, and
his advice and notice were much desired.
Ikey roomed and breakfasted at Mrs.
Riddle's two squares away. Mrs. Riddle had
a daughter named Rosy. The circumlocution
has been in vain you must have guessed it
Ikey adored Rosy. She tinctured all his
thoughts; she was the compound extract of
all that was chemically pure and officinal
the dispensatory contained nothing equal to
her. But Ikey was timid, and his hopes re-
mained insoluble in the menstruum of his
backwardness and fears. Behind his counter
he was a superior being, calmly conscious of
special knowledge and worth; outside he was
a weak-kneed, purblind, motorman-cursed
The Love-Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein 193
rambler, with ill-fitting clothes stained with
chemicals and smelling of socotrine aloes and
valerianate of ammonia.
The fly in Ikey's ointment (thrice welcome,
pat trope!) was Chunk McGowan.
Mr. McGowan was also striving to catch
the bright smiles tossed about by Rosy. But
he was no outfielder as Ikey was; he picked
them off the bat. At the same time he was
Ikey's friend and customer, and often dropped
in at the Blue Light Drug Store to have a
bruise painted with iodine or get a cut rubber-
plastered after a pleasant evening spent along
One afternoon McGowan drifted in in his
silent, easy way, and sat, comely, smooth-
faced, hard, indomitable, good-natured, upon
"Ikey," said he, when his friend had fetched
his mortar and sat opposite, grinding gum
benzoin to a powder, "get busy with your
ear. It's drugs for me if you've got the line
Ikey scanned the countenance of Mr.
McGowan for the usual evidences of conflict,
but found none.
"Take your coat off," he ordered. "I
194 The Love-Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein
guess already that you have been stuck in the
ribs with a knife. I have many times told
you those Dagoes would do you up."
Mr. McGowan smiled. "Not them," he
said. "Not any Dagoes. But you've located
the diagnosis all right enough it's under my
coat, near the ribs. Say! Ikey Rosy and
me are goin' to run away and get married to-
Ikey's left forefinger was doubled over the
edge of the mortar, holding it steady. He
gave it a wild rap with the pestle, but felt it
not. Meanwhile Mr. McGowan's smile faded
to a look of perplexed gloom.
"That is," he continued, "if she keeps in
the notion until the time comes. We've been
layin' pipes for the getaway for two weeks.
One day she says she will; the same evenin'
she says nixy. We've agreed on to-night, and
Rosy's stuck to the affirmative this time for
two whole days. But it's five hours yet till
the time, and I'm afraid she'll stand me up
when it comes to the scratch."
"You said you wanted drugs," remarked
Mr. McGowan looked ill at ease and ha-
rassed a condition opposed to his usual line of
The Love-Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein 195
demeanour. He made a patent-medicine al-
manac into a roll and fitted it with unprofit-
able carefulness about his finger.
"I wouldn't have this double handicap
make a false start to-night for a million," he
said. "I've got a little flat up in Harlem all
ready, with chrysanthemums on the table and
a kettle ready to boil. And I've engaged a
pulpit pounder to be ready at his house for us
at 9.30. It's got to come off. And if Rosy
don't change her mind again!" Mr. Mc-
Gowan ceased, a prey to his doubts.
"I don't see then yet," said Ikey, shortly,
"what makes it that you talk of drugs, or
what I can be doing about it."
"Old man Riddle don't like me a little bit,"
went on the uneasy suitor, bent upon mar-
shalling his arguments. "For a week he
hasn't let Rosy step outside the door with
me. If it wasn't for losin' a boarder they'd
have bounced me long ago. I'm makin' $20
a week and she'll never regret flyin' the coop
with Chunk McGowan."
"You will excuse me, Chunk," said Ikey.
"I must make a prescription that is to be
called for soon."
" Say," said McGowan, looking up sud-
196 The Love-Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein
denly, "say, Ikey, ain't there a drug of
some kind some kind of powders that'll
make a girl like you better if you give 'em to
Ikey's lip beneath his nose curled with the
scorn of superior enlightenment; but before
he could answer, McGowan continued:
"Tim Lacy told me he got some once from
a croaker uptown and fed 'em to his girl in
soda water. From the very first dose he
was ace-high and everybody else looked like
thirty cents to her. They was married in
less than two weeks."
Strong and simple was Chunk McGowan.
A better reader of men than Ikev was could
have seen that his tough frame was strung
upon fine wires. Like a good general who
was about to invade the enemy's territory
he was seeking to guard every point against
"I thought," went on Chunk hopefully,
"that if I had one of them powders to give
Rosy when I see her at supper to-night it
might brace her up and keep her from reneging
on the preposition to skip. I guess she don't
need a mule team to drag her away, but wo-
men are better at coaching than they are at
The Love-Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein 197
running bases. If the stuff'll work just for a
couple of hours it'll do the trick/'
"When is this foolishness of running away
to be happening?" asked Ikey.
" Nine o'clock," said Mr. McGowan. " Sup-
per's at seven. At eight Rosy goes to bed
with a headache. At nine old Parvenzano
lets me through to his backyard, where there's
a board off Riddle's fence, next door. I go
under her window and help her down the
fire-escape. We've got to make it early on
the preacher's account. It's all dead easy
if Rosy don't balk when the flag drops. Can
you fix one of them powders, Ikey?"
Ikey Schoenstein rubbed his nose slowly.
"Chunk," said he, "it is of drugs of that
nature that pharmaceutists must have
much carefulness. To you alone of my
acquaintance would I intrust a powder like
that. But for you I shall make it, and
you shall see how it makes Rosy to think of
Ikey went behind the prescription desk.
There he crushed to a powder two soluble
tablets, each containing a quarter of a grain
of morphia. To them he added a little sugar
of milk to increase the bulk, and folded the
198 The Love-Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein
mixture neatly in a white paper. Taken
by an adult this powder would insure several
hours of heavy slumber without danger to
the sleeper. This he handed to Chunk Mc-
Gowan, telling him to administer it in a
liquid if possible, and received the hearty
thanks of the backyard Lochinvar.
The subtlety of Ikey's action becomes ap-
parent upon recital of his subsequent move.
He sent a messenger for Mr. Riddle and dis-
closed the plans of Mr. McGowan for eloping
with Rosy. Mr. Riddle was a stout man,
brick-dusty of complexion and sudden in
"Much obliged," he said, briefly, to Ikey.
"The lazy Irish loafer! My own room's
just above Rosy's. I'll just go up there my-
self after supper and load the shot-gun and
wait. If he comes in my backyard he'll go
away in a ambulance instead of a bridal
With Rosy held in the clutches of Mor-
pheus for a many-hours deep slumber, and
the bloodthirsty parent waiting, armed and
forewarned, Ikey felt that his rival was close,
indeed, upon discomfiture.
All night in the Blue Light Drug Store he
The Love-Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein 199
waited at his duties for chance news of the
tragedy, but none came.
At eight o'clock in the morning the day
clerk arrived and Ikey started hurriedly for
Mrs. Riddle's to learn the outcome. And,
lo! as he stepped out of the store who but
Chunk McGowan sprang from a passing street
car and grasped his hand Chunk McGowan
with a victor's smile and flushed with joy.
"Pulled it off," said Chunk with Elysium
in his grin. "Rosy hit the fire-escape on
time to a second, and we was under the wire
at the Reverend's at 9.30^. She's up at the
flat she cooked eggs this mornin' in a blue
kimono Lord! how lucky I am! You must
pace up some day, Ikey, and feed with us.
I've got a job down near the bridge, and that's
where I'm heading for now."
"The the powder?" stammered Ikey.
"Oh, that stuff you gave me!" said Chunk,
broadening his grin ; "well, it was this way. I
sat down at the supper table last night at
Riddle's, and I looked at Rosy, and I says to
myself, 'Chunk, if you get the girl get her
on the square don't try any hocus-pocus
with a thoroughbred like her/ And I keeps
the paper you give me in my pocket. And
200 The Love-Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein
then my lamps fall on another party present,
who, I says to myself, is failin' in a proper
affection toward his comin' son-in-law, so I
watches my chance and dumps that powder in
old man Riddle's coffee see?"
THE GIRL AND THE HABIT
HABIT a tendency or aptitude acquired by custom
or frequent repetition.
THE critics have assailed every source of
inspiration save one. To that one we are
driven for our moral theme. When we levied
upon the masters of old they gleefully dug
up the parallels to our columns. When we
strove to set forth real life they reproached us
for trying to imitate Henry George, George
Washington, Washington Irving, and Irving
Bacheller. We wrote of the West and the
East, and they accused us of both Jesse and
Henry James. We wrote from our heart
and they said something about a disordered
liver. We took a text from Matthew or er
yes, Deuteronomy, but the preachers were
hammering away at the inspiration idea
before we could get into type. So, driven
to the wall, we go for our subject-matter to
2O2 The Girl and the Habit
the reliable, old, moral, unassailable vade
mecum the unabridged dictionary.
Miss Merriam was cashier at Hinkle's.
Hinkle's was one of the big downtown restau-
rants. It is in what the papers call the "fi-
nancial district." Each day from 1 2 o'clock to 2
Hinkle's was full of hungry customers-
messenger boys, stenographers, brokers, own-
ers of mining stock, promoters, inventors
with patents pending and also people with
The cashier at Hinkle's was no sinecure.
Hinkle egged and toasted and griddle-caked
and coffeed a good many customers; and he
lunched (as good a word as "dined") many
more. It might be said that Hinkle's break-
fast crowd was a contingent, but his luncheon
patronage amounted to a horde.
Miss Merriam sat on a stool at a desk
inclosed on three sides by a strong, high
fencing of woven brass wire. Through an
arched opening at the bottom you thrust
your waiter's check and the money, while
your heart went pit-a-pat.
For Miss Merriam was lovely and capable.
She could take 45 cents out of a $2 bill and
refuse an offer of marriage before you could
The Girl and the Habit 203
Next! lost your chance please don't shove.
She could keep cool and collected while she
collected your check, give you the correct
change, win you heart, indicate the tooth-
pick stand, and rate you to a quarter of a
cent better than Bradstreet could to a thou-
sand in less time than it takes to pepper an
egg with one of Hinkle's casters.
There is an old and dignified allusion to the
"fierce light that beats upon a throne." The
light that beats upon the young lady cashier's
cage is also something fierce. The other fel-
low is responsible for the slang.
Every male patron of Hinkle's, from the
A. D. T. boys up to the curbstone brokers,
adored Miss Merriam. When they paid
their checks they wooed her with every wile
known to Cupid's art. Between the meshes
of the brass railing went smiles, winks,
compliments, tender vows, invitations to
dinner, sighs, languishing looks, and merry
banter that was wafted pointedly back by the
gifted Miss Merriam.
There is no coign of vantage more effective
than the position of young lady cashier. She
sits there, easily queen of the court of com-
merce; she is duchess of dollars and devoirs,
204 The Girl and the Habit
countess of compliments and coin, leading
lady of love and luncheon. You take from
her a smile and a Canadian dime, and you
go your way uncomplaining. You count the
cheery word or two that she tosses you as
misers count their treasures; and you pocket
the change for a five uncomputed. Perhaps
the brass-bound inaccessibility multiplies her
charms anyhow, she is a shirt-waisted angel,
immaculate, trim, manicured, seductive,
bright-eyed, ready, alert Psyche, Circe, and
Ate in one, separating you from your cir-
culating medium after your sirloin medium.
The young men who broke bread at Hinkle's
never settled with the cashier without an
exchange of badinage and open compliment.
Many of them went to greater lengths and
dropped promissory hints of theatre tickets
and chocolates. The older men spoke plainly
of orange blossoms, generally withering the
tentative petals by after-allusions to Harlem
flats. One broker who had been squeezed by
copper proposed to Miss Merriam more
regularly than he ate.
During a brisk luncheon hour Miss Mer-
riam's conversation, while she took money for
checks, would run something like this :
The Girl and the Habit 205
"Good morning, Mr. Haskins sir? it's
natural, thank you don't be quite so fresh
. . . Hello, Johnny ten, fifteen, twenty
chase along now or they'll take the letters
off your cap . . . Beg pardon count
it again, please Oh, don't mention it
. Vaudeville? thanks; not on your
moving picture I was to see Carter in
Hedda Gabler on Wednesday night with
Mr. Simmons . . . 'Scuse me, I
thought that was a quarter .
Twenty-five and seventy-five's a dollar got
that ham-and-cabbage habit yet. I see,
Billy . . . Who are you addressing?
say you'll get all that's coming to you in a
minute . . . Oh, fudge ! Mr. Bassett
you're always fooling no ? Well, maybe
I'll marry you some day three, four, and
sixty-five is five . . . Kindly keep them
remarks to yourself, if you please .
Ten cents? 'scuse me; the check calls for
seventy well, maybe it is a one instead of a
seven . . . Oh, do you like it that way,
Mr. Saunders ? some prefer a pomp ; but they
say this Cleo de Merody does suit refined
features . . . and ten is fifty .
Hike along there, buddy; don't take this for
206 The Girl and the Habit
a Coney Island ticket booth . . . Huh?
why, Macy's don't it fit nice? Oh, no, it
isn't too cool these light-weight fabrics is
all the go this season . . . Come again,
please that's the third time you've tried to
what? forget it that lead quarter is an old
friend of mine . . . Sixty-five? must
have had your salary raised, Mr. Wilson
. I seen you on Sixth Avenue Tuesday
afternoon, Mr. De Forest swell? oh, my!
who is she? . . . What's the matter
with it? why, it ain't money what? Co-
lumbian half? well, this ain't South America
. Yes, I like the mixed best Friday?
awfully sorry, but I take my jiu-jitsu
lesson on Friday Thursday, then .
Thanks that's sixteen times I've been told
that this morning I guess I must be beautiful
Cut that out, please who do you
think I am ? . . . Why, Mr. Westbrook
do you really think so? the idea! one
eighty and twenty's a dollar thank you ever
so much; but I don't ever go automobile
riding with gentlemen your aunt? well,
that's different perhaps . . . Please
don't get fresh your check was fifteen cents,
I believe kindly step aside and let ...
The Girl and the Habit 207
Hello, Ben coming around Thursday even-
ing? there's a gentleman going to send
around a box of chocolates, and .
forty and sixty is a dollar, and one is two
About the middle of one afternoon the
dizzy goddess Vertigo whose other name is
Fortune suddenly smote an old, wealthy
and eccentric banker while he was walking
past Hinkle's, on his way to a street car. A
wealthy and eccentric banker who rides in
street cars is move up, please; there are
A Samaritan, a Pharisee, a man and a
policeman who were first on the spot lifted
Banker McRamsey and carried him into
Hinkle's restaurant. When the aged but
indestructible banker opened his eyes he saw
a beautiful vision bending over him with a
pitiful, tender smile, bathing his forehead
with beef tea and chafing his hands with
something frappe out of a chafing-dish. Mr.
McRamsey sighed, lost a vest button, gazed
with deep gratitude upon his fair preserveress,
and then recovered consciousness.
To the Seaside Library all who are anticipat-
ing a romance! Banker McRamsey had an
208 The Girl and the Habit
aged and respected wife, and his sentiments
toward Miss Merriam were fatherly. He
talked to her for half an hour with interest-
not the kind that went with his talks during
business hours. The next day he brought
Mrs. McRamsey down to see her. The old
couple were childless they had only a married
daughter living in Brooklyn.
To make a short story shorter, the beautiful
cashier won the hearts of the good old couple.
They came to Hinkle's again and again;
they invited her to their old-fashioned but
splendid home in one of the East Seventies.
Miss Merriam's winning loveliness, her sweet
frankness and impulsive heart took them by
storm. They said a hundred times that Miss
Merriam reminded them so much of their
lost daughter. The Brooklyn matron, nee
Ramsey, had the figure of Buddha and a face
like the ideal of an art photographer. Miss
Merriam was a combination of curves, smiles,
rose leaves, pearls, satin, and hair-tonic
posters. Enough of the fatuity of parents.
A month after the worthy couple became
acquainted with Miss Merriam she stood
before Hinkle one afternoon and resigned her
The Girl and the Habit 209
"They're going to adopt me/' she told the
bereft restaurateur. "They're funny old
people, but regular dears. And the swell
home they have got! Say, Hinkle, there
isn't any use of talking I'm on the a la carte
to wear brown duds and goggles in a whiz
wagon, or marry a duke at least. Still, I
somehow hate to break out of the old cage.
I've been cashiering so long I feel funny
doing anything else. I'll miss joshing the
fellows awfully when they line up to pay
for the buckwheats and. But I can't let
this chance slide. And they're awfully good,
Hinkle; I know I'll have a swell time. You
owe me nine-sixty-two and a half for the week.
Cut' out the half if it hurts you, Hinkle."
And they did. Miss Merriam became Miss
Rosa McRamsey. And she graced the tran-
sition. Beauty is only skin-deep, but the
nerves lie very near to the skin. Nerve
but just here will you oblige by perusing
again the quotation with which this story
The McRamseys poured out money like
domestic champagne to polish their adopted
one. Milliners, dancing masters, and private
tutors got it. Miss er McRamsey was
210 The Girl and the Habit
grateful, loving, and tried to forget Hinkle's.
To give ample credit to the adaptability of
the American girl, Hinkle's did fade from her
memory and speech most of the time.
Not every one will remember when the
Earl of Hitesbury came to East Seventy
Street, America. He was only a fair-to-
medium earl, without debts, and he created
little excitement. But you will surely remem-
ber the evening when the Daughters of Benevo-
lence held their bazaar in the W f-A a
Hotel. For you were there, and you wrote
a note to Fannie on the hotel paper, and
mailed it, just to show her that you did not?
Very well ; that was the evening the baby was
sick, of course.
At the Bazaar the McRamseys were promi-
nent. Miss Mer er McRamsey was ex-
quisitely beautiful. The Earl of Hitesbury
had been very attentive to her since he
dropped in to have a look at America. At
the charity bazaar the affair was supposed to
be going to be pulled off to a finish. An earl
is as good as a duke. Better. His standing
may be lower, but his outstanding accounts
are also lower.
Our ex-young-lady-cashier was assigned to
The Girl and the Habit 211
a booth. She was expected to sell worthless
articles to nobs and snobs at exorbitant
prices. The proceeds of the bazaar were to
be used for giving to the poor children of the
slums a Christmas din Say! did you ever
wonder where they get the other 364?
Miss McRamsey beautiful, palpitating,
excited, charming, radiant fluttered about
in her booth. An imitation brass network,
with a little arched opening, fenced her in.
Along came the Earl, assured, delicate,
accurate, admiring admiring greatly, and
faced the open wicket.
"You look chawming, you know 'pon my
word you do my deah," he said beguilingly.
Miss McRamsey whirled around.
"Cut that joshing out," she said coolly
and briskly. "Who do you think you are
talking to? Your check, please. Oh, Lordy!
Patrons of the bazaar became aware of a
commotion and pressed around a certain
booth. The Earl of Hitesbury stood near by
pulling a pale blond and puzzled whisker.
"Miss McRamsey has fainted," some one
AFTER TWENTY YEARS
THE policeman on the beat moved up the
avenue impressively. The impressiveness was
habitual and not for show, for spectators
were few. The time was barely 10 o'clock
at night, but chilly gusts of wind with a taste
of rain in them had well nigh depeopled the
Trying doors as he went, twirling his club
with many intricate and artful movements,
turning now and then to cast his watchful
eye adown the pacific thoroughfare, the officer,
with his stalwart form and slight swagger,
made a fine picture of a guardian of the peace.
The vicinity was one that kept early hours.
Now and then you might see the lights of a
cigar store or of an all-night lunch counter;
but the majority of the doors belonged to
business places that had long since been
When about midway of a certain block
After Twenty Years 213
the policeman suddenly slowed his walk. In
the doorway of a darkened hardware store
a man leaned, with an unlighted cigar in his
mouth. As the policeman walked up to
him the man spoke up quickly:
" It's all right, officer/' he said reassuringly.
"I'm just waiting for a friend. H It's an ap-
pointment made twenty years ago. Sounds a
little funny to you, doesn't it ? Well, I'll ex-
plain if you'd like to make certain it's all
straight. About that long ago there used
to be a restaurant where this store stands
'Big Joe' Brady's restaurant."
"Until five years ago," said the policeman.
"It was torn down then."
The man in the doorway struck a match
and lit his cigar. The light showed a pale,
square-jawed face with keen eyes, and a
little white scar near his right eyebrow. His
scarfpin was a large diamond, oddly set.
"Twenty years ago to-night," said the man,
" I dined here at ' Big Joe' Brady's with Jimmy
Wells, my best chum, and the finest chap in
the world. He and I were raised here in
New York, just like two brothers, together.
I was eighteen and Jimmy was twenty. The
next morning I was to start for the West to
214 After Twenty Years
make my fortune. You couldn't have dragged
Jimmy out of New York; he thought it was
the only place on earth. Well, we agreed
that night that we would meet here again
exactly twenty years from that date and
time, no matter what our conditions might be
or from what distance we might have to come.
We figured that in twenty years each of us
ought to have our destiny worked out and
our fortunes made, whatever they were going
"It sounds pretty interesting," said the
policeman. "Rather a long time between
meets, though, it seems to me. Haven't
you heard from your friend since you left ?"
"Well, yes, for a time we corresponded,"
said the other. "But after a year or two we
lost track of each other. You see, the West
is a pretty big proposition, and I kept hustling
around over it pretty lively. But I know
Jimmy will meet me here if he's alive, for he
always was the truest, stanchest old chap in
the world. He'll never forget. I came a
thousand miles to stand in this door to-night,
and it's worth it if my old partner turns up."
The waiting man pulled out a handsome
watch, the lids of it set with small diamonds.
After Twenty Years 215
" Three minutes to ten," he announced.
" It was exactly ten o'clock when we parted
here at the restaurant door."
"Did pretty well out West, didn't you?"
asked the policeman.
"You bet! I hope Jimmy has done half
as well. He was a kind of plodder, though,
good fellow as he was. I've had to compete
with some of the sharpest wits going to get my
pile. A man gets in a groove in New York.
It takes the West to put a razor-edge on him."
The policeman twirled his club and took a
step or two.
"I'll be on my way. Hope your friend
comes around all right. Going to call time
on him sharp?"
"I should say not!" said the other. "I'll
give him half an hour at least. If Jimmy is
alive on earth he'll be here by that time. So
"Good-night, sir," said the policeman, pass-
ing on along his beat, trying doors as he went.
There was now a fine, cold drizzle falling,
and the wind had risen from its uncertain
puffs into a steady blow The few foot
passengers astir in that quarter hurried dis-
mally and silently along with coat collars
216 After Twenty Years
turned high and pocketed hands. And in the
door of the hardware store the man who had
come a thousand miles to fill an appointment,
uncertain almost to absurdity, with the friend
of his youth, smoked his cigar and waited.
About twenty minutes he waited, and then
a tall man in a long overcoat, with collar
turned up to his ears, hurried across from the
opposite side of the street. He went directly
to the waiting man.
"Is that you, Bob?" he asked doubtfully.
"Is that you, Jimmy Wells?" cried the man
in the door.
"Bless my heart!" exclaimed the new ar-
rival, grasping both the other's hands with his
own. " It's Bob, sure as fate. I was certain
I'd find you here if you were still in existence.
Well, well, well ! twenty years is a long time.
The old restaurant's gone, Bob; I wish it had
lasted, so we could have had another dinner
there. How has the West treated you, old
" Bully; it has given me everything I asked
it for. You've changed lots, Jimmy. I never
thought you were so tall by two or three
"Oh, I grew a bit after I was twenty."
'The man from the West stopped suddenly and released his arm.
1 You re not Jimmy Wells] he snapped "
After Twenty Years 217
"Doing well in New York, Jimmy?"
"Moderately. I have a position in one of
the city departments. Come on, Bob; we'll
go around to a place I know of, and have a
good long talk about old times."
The two men started up the street, arm in
arm. The man from the West, his egotism
enlarged by success, was beginning to outline
the history of his career. The other, sub-
merged in his overcoat, listened with interest.
At the corner stood a drug store, brilliant
with electric lights. When they came into
this glare each of them turned simultaneously
to gaze upon the other's face.
The man from the West stopped suddenly
and released his arm.
"You're not Jimmy Wells,' 5 he snapped.
"Twenty years is a long time, but not long
enough to change a man's nose from a Roman
to a pug."
"It sometimes changes a good man into a
bad one," said the tall man. " You've been
under arrest for ten minutes, 'Silky' Bob.
Chicago thinks you may have dropped over
our way and wires us she wants to have a chat
with you. Going quietly, are you? That's
sensible. Now, before we go on to the
21 8 After Twenty Years
station here's a note I was asked to hand you.
You may read it here at the window. It's
from Patrolman Wells."
The man from the West unfolded the little
piece of paper handed him. His hand was
steady when he began to read, but it trem-
bled a little by the time he had finished. The
note was rather short:
BOB: I was at the appointed place on time. When
you struck the match to light your cigar I saw it was
the face of the man wanted in Chicago. Somehow
I couldn't do it myself, so I went around and got
a plain clothes man to do the job.
"WHAT YOU WANT"
NIGHT had fallen on that great and beautiful
city known as Bagdad-on-the-Subway. And
with the night came the enchanted glamour
that belongs not to Arabia alone. In different
masquerade the streets, bazaars, and walled
houses of the occidental city of romance were
filled with the same kind of folk that so much
interested our interesting old friend, the late
Mr. H. A. Rashid. They wore clothes eleven
hundred years nearer to the latest styles
than H. A. saw in the old Bagdad; but they
were about the same people underneath.
With the eye of faith, you could have seen
the Little Hunchback, Sinbad the Sailor,
Fitbad the Tailor, the Beautiful Persian, the
one-eyed Calenders, AH Baba and Forty
Robbers on every block, and the Barber and
his Six Brothers, and all the old Arabian
But let us revenue to our lamb chops.
220 "What You Want"
Old Tom Crowley was a caliph. He had
$42,000,000 in preferred stocks and bonds
with solid gold edges. In these times, to be
called a caliph you must have money. The
old-style caliph business as conducted by Mr.
Rashid is not safe. If you hold up a person
nowadays in a bazaar or a Turkish bath or
a side street, and inquire into his private and
personal affairs, the police court'll get you.
Old Tom was tired of clubs, theatres,
dinners, friends, music, money, and everything.
That's what makes a caliph you must get
to despise everything that money can buy,
and then go out and try to want something
that you can't pay for.
"I'll take a little trot 'around town all by
myself," thought old Tom, "and try if I can
stir up anything new. Let's see it seems
I've read about a king or a Cardiff giant or
something in old times who used to go about
with false whiskers on, making Persian dates
with folks he hadn't been introduced to.
That don't listen like a bad idea. I certainly
have got a case of humdrumness and fatigue
on for the ones I do know. That old Cardiff
used to pick up cases of trouble as he ran upon
'em and give 'em gold sequins, I think it
"What You Want" 221
was and make 'em marry or got 'em good
Government jobs. Now, I'd like something
of that sort. My money is as good as his was
even if the magazines do ask me every month
where I got it. Yes, I guess I'll do a little
Cardiff business to-night, and see how it
Plainly dressed, old Tom Crowley left his
Madison Avenue palace, and walked west-
ward and then south. As he stepped to the
sidewalk, Fate, who holds the ends of the
strings in the central offices of all the en-
chanted cities, pulled a thread, and a young
man twenty blocks away looked at a wall
clock, and then put on his coat.
James Turner worked in one of those little
hat-cleaning establishments on Sixth Avenue
in which a fire alarm rings when you push the
door open, and where they clean your hat
while you wait two days. James stood all
day at an electric machine that turned hats
around faster than the best brands of cham-
pagne ever could have done. Overlooking
your mild impertinence in feeling a curiosity
about the personal appearance of a stranger,
I will give you a modified description of him.
Weight, 118; complexion, hair, and brain,
222 "What You Want"
light; height, five feet six; age, about twenty-
three; dressed in a $10 suit of greenish-blue
serge; pockets containing two keys and sixty-
three cents in change.
But do not misconjecture because this
description sounds like a General Alarm that
James was either lost or a dead one.
James stood all day at his work. His feet
were tender and extremely susceptible to im-
positions being put upon or below them. All
day long they burned and smarted, causing
him much suffering and inconvenience. But
he was earning twelve dollars per week, which
he needed to support his feet whether his feet
would support him or not.
James Turner had his own conception of
what happiness was, just as you and I have
ours. Your delight is to gad about the world
in yachts and motor-cars and to hurl ducats
at wild fowl. Mine is to smoke a pipe at
evenfall and watch a badger, a rattlesnake,
and an owl go into their common prairie home
one by one.
James Turner's idea of bliss was different;
but it was his. He would go directly to his
boarding-house when his day's work was done.
"What You Want " 223
After his supper of small steak, Bessemer
potatoes, stooed (not stewed) apples and
infusion of chicory, he would ascend to his
fifth-floor-back hall room. Then he would
take off his shoes and socks, place the soles
of his burning feet against the cold bars of
his iron bed, and read Clark Russell's sea
yarns. The delicious relief of the cool metal
applied to his smarting soles was his nightly
joy. His favourite novels never palled upon
him; the sea and the adventures of its navi-
gators were his sole intellectual passion. No
millionaire was ever happier than James
Turner taking his ease.
When James left the hat-cleaning shop he
walked three blocks out of his way home to
look over the goods of a second-hand book-
stall. On the sidewalk stands he had more
than once picked up a paper-covered volume
of Clark Russell at half price.
While he was bending with a scholarly stoop
over the marked-down miscellany of cast-off
literature, old Tom the caliph sauntered by.
His discerning eye, made keen by twenty
years' experience in the manufacture of laun-
dry soap (save the wrappers!) recognized
instantly the poor and discerning scholar, a
224 "What You Want"
worthy object of his caliphanous mood. He
descended the two shallow stone steps that
led from the sidewalk, and addressed without
hesitation the object of his designed mu-
nificence. His first words were no worse than
salutatory and tentative.
James Turner looked up coldly, with " Sar-
tor Resartus" in one hand and "A Mad
Marriage" in the other.
"Beat it," said he. "I don't want to buy
any coat hangers or town lots in Hankipoo,
New Jersey. Run along, now, and play with
your Teddy bear."
"Young man," said the caliph, ignoring
the flippancy of the hat cleaner, "I observe
that you are of a studious disposition. Learn-
ing is one of the finest things in the world. I
never had any of it worth mentioning, but I
admire to see it in others. I come from the
West, where we imagine nothing but facts.
Maybe I couldn't understand the poetry and
allusions in them books you are picking over,
but I like to see somebody else seem to know
what they mean. Now, I'd like to make you
a proposition. I'm worth about $40,000,000,
and I'm getting richer every day. I made
the height of it manufacturing Aunt Patty's
"What You Want" 225
Silver Soap. I invented the art of making it.
I experimented for three years before I got
just the right quantity of chloride of sodium
solution and caustic potash mixture to curdle
properly. And after I had taken some
$9,000,000 out of the soap business I made the
rest in corn and wheat futures. Now, you
seem to have the literary and scholarly turn
of character; and I'll tell you what I'll do.
I'll pay for your education at the finest
college in the world. I'll pay the expense of
your rummaging over Europe and the art
galleries, and finally set you up in a good
business. You needn't make it soap if you
have any objections. I see by your clothes
and frazzled necktie that you are mighty poor;
and you can't afford to turn down the offer.
Well, when do you want to begin?"
The hat cleaner turned upon old Tom the
eye of the Big City, which is an eye expressive
of cold and justifiable suspicion, of judgment
suspended as high as Haman was hung, of
self-preservation, of challenge, curiosity, de-
fiance, cynicism, and, strange as you may
think it, of a childlike yearning for friendliness
and fellowship that must be hidden when one
walks among the "stranger bands." For in
226 "What You Want"
New Bagdad one, in order to survive, must
suspect whosoever sits, dwells, drinks, rides,
walks, or sleeps in the adjacent chair, house,
booth, seat, path, or room.
"Say, Mike/' said James Turner, "what's
your line, anyway shoe laces? I'm not
buying anything. You better put an egg
in your shoe and beat it before incidents
occur to you. You can't work off any fountain
pens, gold spectacles you found on the
street, or trust company certificate house
clearings on me. Say, do I look like I'd
climbed down one of them missing fire-escapes
at Helicon Hall? What's vitiating you, any-
" Son," said the caliph, in his most Harunish
tones, "as I said, I'm worth $40,000,000. I
don't want to have it all put in my coffin when
I die. I want to do some good with it. I
seen you handling over these here volumes of
literature, and I thought I'd keep you. I've
give the missionary societies $2,000,000, but
what did I get out of it? Nothing but a
receipt from the secretary. Now, you are just
the kind of young man I'd like to take up and
see what money could make of him."
Volumes of Clark Russell were hard to find
"What You Want" 227
that evening at the Old Book Shop. And
James Turner's smarting and aching feet did
not tend to improve his temper. Humble hat
cleaner though he was, he had a spirit equal
to any caliph's.
"Say, you old faker," he said, angrily, "be
on your way. I don't know what your game
is, unless you want change for a bogus
$40,000,000 bill. Well, I don't carry that
much around with me. But I do carry a
pretty fair left-handed punch that you'll get
if you don't move on."
"You are a blamed impudent little gutter
pup," said the caliph.
Then James delivered his self-praised punch;
old Tom seized him by the collar and kicked
him thrice; the hat cleaner rallied and clinched;
two bookstands were overturned, and the
books sent flying. A cop came up, took an
arm of each, and marched them to the nearest
station house. " Fighting and disorderly con-
duct," said the cop to the sergeant.
"Three hundred dollars bail," said the
sergeant at once, asseveratingly and inquir-
"Sixty-three cents," said James Turner
with a harsh laugh.
228 "What You Want"
The caliph searched his pockets and col-
lected small bills and change amounting to
"I am worth," he said, "forty million
"Lock 'em up," ordered the sergeant.
In his cell, James Turner laid himself on
his cot, ruminating. "Maybe he's got the
money, and maybe he ain't. But if he has
or he ain't what does he want to go 'round
butting into other folks's business for? When
a man knows what he wants, and can get it,
it's the same as $40,000,000 to him."
Then an idea came to him that brought a
pleased look to his face.
He removed his socks, drew his cot close to
the door, stretched himself out luxuriously, and
placed his tortured feet against the cold bars
of the cell door. Something hard and bulky
under the blankets of his cot gave one shoulder
discomfort. He reached under, and drew out
a paper-covered volume by Clark Russell
called "A Sailor's Sweetheart." He gave a
great sigh of contentment.
Presently to his cell came the doorman and
"Say, kid, that old gazabo that was pinched
"What You Want" 229
with you for scrapping seems to have been
the goods after all. He 'phoned to his friends,
and he's out at the desk now with a roll of
yellowbacks as big as a Pullman car pillow.
He wants to bail you, and for you to come
out to see him."
"Tell him I ain't in," said James Turner.
THE CLARION CALL
HALF of this story can be found in the
records of the Police Department; the other
half belongs behind the business counter of a
One afternoon two weeks after Million-
aire Norcross was found in his apartment
murdered by a burglar, the murderer, while
strolling serenely down Broadway, ran plump
against Detective Barney Woods.
"Is that you, Johnny Kernan?" asked
Woods, who had been near-sighted in public
for five years.
"No less," cried Kernan heartily. "If it
isn't Barney Woods, late and early of old
Saint Jo! You'll have to show me! What
are you doing East? Do the green-goods
circulars get out that far?"
"I've been in New York some years,"
said Woods. "I'm on the city detective
The Clarion Call 231
"Well, well!" said Kernan, breathing smil-
ing joy and patting the detective's arm.
"Come into Muller's," said Woods, "and
let's hunt a quiet table. I'd like to talk to
It lacked a few minutes to the hour of four.
The tides of trade were not yet loosed, and
they found a quiet corner of the cafe. Ker-
nan, well dressed, slightly swaggering, self-
confident, seated himself opposite the little
detective, with his pale, sandy moustache,
squinting eyes, and ready-made cheviot suit.
"What business are you in now?" asked
Woods. "You know you left Saint Jo a year
before I did."
"I'm selling shares in a copper mine," said
Kernan. "I may establish an office here.
Well, well! and so old Barney is a New York
detective. You always had a turn that way.
You were on the police in Saint Jo after I left
there, weren't you?"
"Six months," said Woods. "And now
there's one more question, Johnny. I've
followed your record pretty close ever since
you did that hotel job in Saratoga, and I
never knew you to use your gun before.
Why did you kill Norcross?"
232 The Clarion Call
Kernan stared for a few moments with con-
centrated attention at the slice of lemon in
his high-ball; and then he looked at the detec-
tive with a sudden, crooked, brilliant smile.
"How did you guess it, Barney?" he asked
admiringly. "I swear I thought the job was
as clean and as smooth as a peeled onion.
Did I leave a string hanging out anywhere?"
Woods laid upon the table a small gold
pencil intended for a watch-charm.
"It's the one I gave you the last Christmas
we were in Saint Jo. I've got your shaving
mug yet. I found this under a corner of the
rug in Norcross's room. I warn you to be
careful what you say. I've got it put on to
you, Johnny. We were old friends once, but
I must do my duty. You'll have to go to the
chair for Norcross."
"My luck stays with me," said he,
"Who'd have thought old Barney was on
my trail!" He slipped one hand inside his
coat. In an instant Woods had a revolver
against his side.
"Put it away," said Kernan, wrinkling his
nose. "I'm only investigating. Aha! It
takes nine tailors to make a man. but one
The Clarion Call 233
can do a man up. There's a hole in that vest
pocket. I took that pencil off my chain and
slipped it in there in case of a scrap. Put
up your gun, Barney, and I'll tell you why I
had to shoot Norcross. The old fool started
down the hall after me, popping at the but-
tons on the back of my coat with a peevish
little .22 and I had to stop him. The old
lady was a darling. She just lay in bed and
saw her $12,000 diamond necklace go with-
out a chirp, while she begged like a pan-
handler to have back a little thin gold ring
with a garnet worth about $3. I guess she
married old Norcross for his money, all
right. Don't they hang on to the little
trinkets from the Man Who Lost Out, though ?
There were six rings, two brooches, and a
chatelaine watch. Fifteen thousand would
cover the lot."
"I warned you not to talk," said Woods.
"Oh, that's all right," said Kernan. "The
stuff is in my suit case at the hotel. And now
I'll tell you why I'm talking. Because it's
safe. I'm talking to a man I know. You
owe me a thousand dollars, Barney Woods,
and even if you wanted to arrest me your
hand wouldn't make the move."
234 The Clarion Call
"I havenft forgotten," said Woods. "You
counted out twenty fifties without a word.
Fll pay it back some day. That thousand
saved me and well, they were piling my
furniture out on the sidewalk when I got back
to the house."
"And so," continued Kernan, "you being
Barney Woods, born as true as steel, and
bound to play a white man's game, can't
lift a finger to arrest the man you're indebted
to. Oh, I have to study men as well as Yale
locks and window fastenings in my business.
Now, keep quiet while I ring for the waiter.
I've had a thirst for a year or two that wor-
ries me a little. If I'm ever caught the lucky
sleuth will have to divide honours with old
boy Booze. But I never drink during busi-
ness hours. After a job I can crook elbows
with my old friend Barney with a clear con-
science. What are you taking?"
The waiter came with the little decanters
and the siphon and left them alone again.
" You've called the turn," said Woods, as
he rolled the little gold pencil about with a
thoughtful forefinger. "I've got to pass you
up. I can't lay a hand on you. If I'd a-paid
that money back but I didn't, and that
The Clarion Call 235
settles it. It's a bad break I'm making,
Johnny, but I can't dodge it. You helped
me once, and it calls for the same."
"I knew it," said Kernan, raising his glass,
with a flushed smile of self-appreciation. "I
can judge men. Here's to Barney, for
'he's a jolly good fellow."
"I don't believe," went on Woods quietly,
as if he were thinking aloud, "that if ac-
counts had been square between you and
me, all the money in all the banks in New
York could have bought you out of my hands
" I know it couldn't," said Kernan. "That's
why I knew I was safe with you."
"Most people," continued the detective,
"look sideways at my business. They don't
class it among the fine arts and the pro-
fessions. But I've always taken a kind of
fool pride in it. And here is where I go
'busted.' I guess I'm a man first and a
detective afterward. I've got to let you go,
and then I've got to resign from the force.
I guess I can drive an express wagon. Your
thousand dollars is further off than ever,
"Oh, you're welcome to it," said Kernan,
236 The Clarion Call
with a lordly air. "I'd be willing to call the
debt off, but I know you wouldn't have it.
It was a lucky day for me when you borrowed
it. And now, let's drop the subject. I'm
off to the West on a morning train. I know
a place out there where I can negotiate the
Norcross sparks. Drink up, Barney, and
forget your troubles. We'll have a jolly
time while the police are knocking their
heads together over the case. I've got one
of my Sahara thirsts on to-night. But I'm
in the hands the unofficial hands of my
old friend Barney, and I won't even dream of
And then, as Kernan's ready finger kept
the button and the waiter working, his weak
point a tremendous vanity and arrogant
egotism, began to show itself. He recounted
story after story of his successful plunderings,
ingenious plots and infamous transgressions
until Woods, with all his familiarity with
evil-doers, felt growing within him a cold ab-
horrence toward the utterly vicious man who
had once been his benefactor.
"I'm disposed of, of course," said Woods,
at length. "But I advise you to keep under
cover for a spell. The newspapers may take
The Clarion Call 237
up this Norcross affair. There has been an
epidemic of burglaries and manslaughter in
town this summer."
The word sent Kernan into a high glow of
sullen and vindictive rage.
"To h 1 with the newspapers/' he growled.
"What do they spell but brag and blow and
boodle in box-car letters? Suppose they do
take up a case what does it amount to?
The police are easy enough to fool; but what
do the newspapers do? They send a lot of
pin-head reporters around to the scene; and
they make for the nearest saloon and have
beer while they take photos of the bartender's
oldest daughter in evening dress, to print as
the fiancee of the young man in the tenth
story, who thought he heard a noise below
on the night of the murder. That's about as
near as the newspapers ever come to running
down Mr. Burglar."
"Well, I don't know," said Woods, reflect-
ing. "Some of the papers have done good
work in that line. There's* the Morning
Mars, for instance. It warmed up two or
three trails, and got the man after the police
had let 'em get cold."
"I'll show you," said Kernan, rising, and
238 The Clarion Call
expanding his chest. "I'll show you what I
think of newspapers in general, and your
Morning Mars in particular."
Three feet from their table was the tele-
phone booth. Kernan went inside and sat
at the instrument, leaving the door open.
He found a number in the book, took down
the receiver and made his demand upon Cen-
tral. Woods sat still, looking at the sneering,
cold, vigilant face waiting close to the trans-
mitter, and listened to the words that came
from the thin, truculent lips curved into a con-
"That the Morning Mars? . . . I want
to speak to the managing editor .
Why, tell him it's some one who wants to
talk to him about the Norcross murder.
"You the editor? . . . All right. . . .
I am the man who killed old Norcross . . .
Wait! Hold the wire; I'm not the usual
crank . . . Oh, there isn't the slightest
danger. I've just been discussing it with a
detective friend of mine. I killed the old
man at 2:30 A. M. two weeks ago to-morrow
. . . Have a drink with you? Now, hadn't
you better leave that kind of talk to your
funny man? Can't you tell whether a man's
The Clarion Call 239
guying you or whether you're being offered
the biggest scoop your dull dishrag of a paper
ever had ? . . . Well, that's so; it's a bob-
tail scoop but you can hardly expect me to
'phone in my name and address. . . .
Why? Oh, because I heard you make a
specialty of solving mysterious crimes that
stump the police. . . . No, that's not
all. I want to tell you that your rotten,
lying, penny sheet is of no more use in track-
ing an intelligent murderer or highwayman
than a blind poodle would be. ... What ?
. . . Oh, no, this isn't a rival newspaper
office; you're getting it straight. I did the
Norcross job, and I've got the jewels in my
suit case at 'the name of the hotel could
not be learned' you recognize that phrase,
don't you? I thought so. You've used it
often enough. Kind of rattles you, doesn't
it, to have the mysterious villain call up your
great, big, all-powerful organ of right and jus-
tice and good government and tell you what a
helpless old gas-bag you are? . . . Cut
that out; you're not that big a fool no, you
don't think I'm a fraud. I can tell it by your
voice. . . . Now, listen, and I'll give
you a pointer that will prove it to you, Of
240 The Clarion Call
course youVe had this murder case worked
over by your staff of bright young blockheads.
Half of the second button on old Mrs. Nor-
cross's nightgown is broken off. I saw it when
I took the garnet ring off her finger. I thought
it was a ruby. . . . Stop that! it won't
Kernan turned to Woods with a diabolic
"I've got him going. He believes me now.
He didn't quite cover the transmitter with
his hand when he told somebody to call up
Central on another 'phone and get our num-
ber. I'll give him just one more dig, and
then we'll make a 'get-away/
"Hello! . . . Yes. I'm here yet. You
didn't think I'd run from such a little sub-
sidized, turncoat rag of a newspaper, did
you? . . . Have me inside of forty-eight
hours? Say, will you quit being funny?
Now, you let grown men alone and attend
to your business of hunting up divorce cases
and street-car accidents and printing the
filth and scandal that you make your living
by. Good-bye, old boy sorry I haven't time
to call on you. I'd feel perfectly safe in your
sanctum asinorum. Tra-la!"
The Clarion Call 241
"He's as mad as a cat that's lost a mouse,"
said Kernan, hanging up the receiver and com-
ing out. "And now, Barney, my boy, we'll
go to a show and enjoy ourselves until a
reasonable bedtime. Four hours' sleep for
me, and then the west-bound."
The two dined in a Broadway restaurant.
Kernan was pleased with himself. He spent
money like a prince of fiction. And then a
weird and gorgeous musical comedy engaged
their attention. Afterward there was a late
supper in a grillroom, with champagne, and
Kernan at the height of his complacency.
Half-past three in the morning found them
in a corner of an all-night cafe, Kernan still
boasting in a vapid and rambling way, Woods
thinking moodily over the end that had come
to his usefulness as an upholder of the law.
But, as he pondered, his eye brightened with
a speculative light.
"I wonder if it's possible," he said to him-
self, "I won-der if it's pos-si-ble!"
And then outside the cafe the comparative
stillness of the early morning was punctured
by faint, uncertain cries that seemed mere
fireflies of sound, some growing louder, some
fainter, waxing and waning amid the rumble
242 The Clarion Call
of milk wagons and infrequent cars. Shrill
cries they were when near well-known cries
that conveyed many meanings to the ears of
those of the slumbering millions of the great
city who waked to hear them. Cries that
bore upon their significant, small volume the
weight of a world's woe and laughter and de-
light and stress. To some, cowering beneath
the protection of a night's ephemeral cover,
they brought news of the hideous, bright
day; to others, wrapped in happy sleep, they
announced a morning that would dawn blacker
than sable night. To many of the rich they
brought a besom to sweep away what had
been theirs while the stars shone; to the poor
they brought another day.
All over the city the cries were starting up,
keen and sonorous, heralding the chances that
the slipping of one cogwheel in the machinery
of time had made; apportioning to the sleepers
while they lay at the mercy of fate, the ven-
geance, profit, grief, reward, and doom that
the new figure in the calendar had brought
them. Shrill and yet plaintive were the cries,
as if the young voices grieved that so much
evil and so little good was in their irrespon-
sible hands. Thus echoed in the streets of
The Clarion Call 243
the helpless city the transmission of the latest
decrees of the gods, the cries of the newsboys
the Clarion Call of the Press.
Woods flipped a dime to the waiter, and
"Get me a Morning Mars."
When the paper came he glanced at its
first page, and then tore a leaf out of his
memorandum book and began to write on it
with the little gold pencil.
"What's the news?' 5 yawned Kernan.
Woods flipped over to him the piece of
THE NEW YORK "MORNING MARS":
Please pay to the order of John Kernan the one
thousand dollars reward coming to me for his arrest
"I kind of thought they would do that,"
said Woods, "when you were jollying 'em
so hard. Now, Johnny, you'll come to the
police station with me."
A RETRIEVED REFORMATION
A GUARD came to the prison shoe-shop,
where Jimmy Valentine was assiduously
stitching uppers, and escorted him to the
front office. There the warden handed Jim-
my his pardon, which had been signed that
morning by the governor. Jimmy took it in a
tired kind of way. He had served nearly ten
months of a four-year sentence. He had ex-
pected to stay only about three months, at the
longest. When a man with as many friends
on the outside as Jimmy Valentine had is
received in the "stir" it is hardly worth while
to cut his hair.
"Now, Valentine/' said the warden, "you'll
go out in the morning. Brace up, and make
a man of yourself. You're not a bad fellow
at heart. Stop cracking safes, and live
"Me?" said Jimmy, in surprise. "Why, I
never cracked a safe in my life."
A Retrieved Reformation 245
"Oh, no/' laughed the warden. "Of course
not. Let's see, now. How was it you hap-
pened to get sent up on that Springfield job ?
Was it because you wouldn't prove an alibi
for fear of compromising somebody in ex-
tremely high-toned society ? Or was it simply
a case of a mean old jury that had it in for
you? It's always one or the other with you
"Me?" said Jimmy, still blankly virtuous.
"Why, warden, I never was in Springfield in
"Take him back, Cronin," smiled the war-
den, "and fix him up with outgoing clothes.
Unlock him at seven in the morning, and let
him come to the bull-pen. Better think over
my advice, Valentine."
At a quarter past seven on the next morn-
ing Jimmy stood in the warden's outer office.
He had on a suit of the villainously fitting,
ready-made clothes and a pair of the stiff,
squeaky shoes that the state furnishes to its
discharged compulsory guests.
The clerk handed him a railroad ticket and
the five-dollar bill with which the law expected
him to rehabilitate himself into good citizen-
ship and prosperity. The warden gave him
246 A Retrieved Reformation
a cigar, and shook hands. Valentine, 9762,
was chronicled on the books "Pardoned by
Governor," and Mr. James Valentine walked
out into the sunshine.
Disregarding the song of the birds, the wav-
ing green trees, and the smell of the flowers,
Jimmy headed straight for a restaurant.
There he tasted the first sweet joys of liberty
in the shape of a broiled chicken and a bottle
of white wine followed by a cigar a grade
better than the one the warden had given him.
From there he proceeded leisurely to the
depot. He tossed a quarter into the hat of a
blind man sitting by the door, and boarded
his train. Three hours set him down in a
little town near the state line. He went to
the cafe of one Mike Dolan and shook hands
with Mike, who was alone behind the bar.
" Sorry we couldn't make it sooner, Jimmy,
me boy," said Mike. "But we had that pro-
test from Springfield to buck against, and the
governor nearly balked. Feeling all right?"
" Fine," said Jimmy. " Got my key ? "
He got his key and went upstairs, unlocking
the door of a room at the rear. Everything
was just as he had left it. There on the floor
was still Ben Price's collar-button that had
A Retrieved Reformation 247
been torn from that eminent detective's
shirt-band when they had overpowered Jimmy
to arrest him.
Pulling out from the wall a folding-bed,
Jimmy slid back a panel in the wall and drag-
ged out a dust-covered suit-case. He opened
this and gazed fondly at the finest set of bur-
glar's tools in the East. It was a complete set,
made of specially tempered steel, the latest
designs in drills, punches, braces, and bits,
jimmies, clamps, and augers, with two or
three novelties, invented by Jimmy himself,
in which he took pride. Over nine hundred
dollars they had cost him to have made at
, a place where they make such things for
In half an hour Jimmy went downstairs
and through the cafe. He was now dressed
in tasteful and well-fitting clothes, and car-
ried his dusted and cleaned suit-case in his
"Got anything on?" asked Mike Dolan
"Me?" said Jimmy, in a puzzled tone.
"I don't understand. I'm representing the
New York Amalgamated Short Snap Biscuit
Cracker and Frazzled Wheat Company."
248 A Retrieved Reformation
This statement delighted Mike to such an
extent that Jimmy had to take a seltzer-and-
milk on the spot. He never touched "hard"
A week after the release of Valentine, 9762,
there was a neat job of safe-burglary done in
Richmond, Indiana, with no clue to the
author. A scant eight hundred dollars was
all that was secured. Two weeks after that
a patented, improved, burglar-proof safe in
Logansport was opened like a cheese to the
tune of fifteen hundred dollars, currency;
securities and silver untouched. That began
to interest the rogue-catchers. Then an old-
fashioned bank-safe in Jefferson City became
active and threw out of its crater an eruption
of bank-notes amounting to five thousand
dollars. The losses were now high enough
to bring the matter up into Ben Price's class
of work. By comparing notes, a remark-
able similarity in the methods of the burglar-
ies was noticed. Ben Price investigated the
scenes of the robberies, and was heard to re-
"That's Dandy Jim Valentine's auto-
graph. He's resumed business. Look at that
combination knob jerked out as easy as
A Retrieved Reformation 249
pulling up a radish in wet weather. He's got
the only clamps that can do it. And look
how clean those tumblers were punched out!
Jimmy never has to drill but one hole. Yes,
I guess I want Mr. Valentine. He'll do his
bit next time without any short-time or
Ben Price knew Jimmy's habits. He had
learned them while working up the Spring-
field case. Long jumps, quick get-aways, no
confederates, and a taste for good society
these ways had helped Mr. Valentine to be-
come noted as a successful dodger of retri-
bution. It was given out that Ben Price had
taken up the trail of the elusive cracksman,
and other people with burglar-proof safes
felt more at ease.
One afternoon Jimmy Valentine and his
suit-case climbed out of the mail-hack in El-
more, a little town five miles off the railroad
down in the black-jack country of Arkansas.
Jimmy, looking like an athletic young senior
just home from college, went down the board
side-walk toward the hotel.
A young lady crossed the street, passed him
at the corner, and entered a door over which
was the sign "The Elmore Bank." Jimmy
250 A Retrieved Reformation
Valentine looked into her eyes, forgot what
he was, and became another man. She low-
ered her eyes and coloured slightly. Young
men of Jimmy's style and looks were scarce
Jimmy collared a boy that was loafing on
the steps of the bank as if he were one of the
stockholders, and began to ask him ques-
tions about the town, feeding him dimes at
intervals. By and by the young lady came
out, looking royally unconscious of the young
man with the suit-case, and went her way.
"Isn't that young lady Miss Polly Simp-
son?" asked Jimmy, with specious guile.
"Naw," said the boy. "She's Annabel
Adams. Her pa owns this bank. What'd
you come to Elmore for? Is that a gold
watch-chain? I'm going to get a bulldog.
Got any more dimes?"
Jimmy went to the Planters' Hotel, regis-
tered as Ralph D. Spencer, and engaged a
room. He leaned on the desk and declared
his platform to the clerk. He said he had
come to Elmore to look for a location to go
into business. How was the shoe business,
now, in the town? He had thought of the
shoe business. Was there an opening?
A Retrieved Reformation 251
The clerk was impressed by the clothes
and manner of Jimmy. He, himself, was
something of a pattern of fashion to the
thinly gilded youth of Elmore, but he now
perceived his shortcomings. While trying to
figure out Jimmy's manner of tying his four-
in-hand he cordially gave information.
Yes, there ought to be a good opening in
the shoe line. There wasn't an exclusive
shoe-store in the place. The dry-goods and
general stores handled them. Business in all
lines was fairly good. Hoped Mr. Spencer
would decide to locate in Elmore. He would
find it a pleasant town to live in, and the
people very sociable.
Mr. Spencer thought he would stop over in
the town a few days and look over the situa-
tion. No, the clerk needn't call the boy.
He would carry up his suit-case, himself; it
was rather heavy.
Mr. Ralph Spencer, the phoenix that arose
from Jimmy Valentine's ashes ashes left
by the flame of a sudden and alterative at-
tack of love remained in Elmore, and pros-
pered. He opened a shoe-store and secured
a good run of trade.
Socially he was also a success, and made
252 A Retrieved Reformation
many friends. And he accomplished the
wish of his heart. He met Miss Annabel
Adams, and became more and more captivated
by her charms.
At the end of a year the situation of Mr.
Ralph Spencer was this: he had won the
respect of the community, his shoe-store was
flourishing, and he and Annabel were engaged
to be married in two weeks. Mr. Adams,
the typical, plodding, country banker, ap-
proved of Spencer. Annabel's pride in him
almost equalled her affection. He was as
much at home in the family of Mr. Adams
and that of Annabel's married sister as if
he were already a member.
One day Jimmy sat down in his room and
wrote this letter, which he mailed to the safe
address of one of his old friends in St. Louis:
DEAR OLD PAL:
I want you to be at Sullivan's place, in Little Rock,
next Wednesday night, at nine o'clock. I want you
to wind up some little matters for me. And, also,
want to make you a present of my kit of tools. I
know you'll be glad to get them you couldn't dupli-
cate the lot for a thousand dollars. Say, Billy, I've
quit the old business a year ago. I've got a nice
store. I'm making an honest living, and I'm going
A Retrieved Reformation 253
to marry the finest girl on earth two weeks from noXv.
It's the only life, Billy the straight one. I wouldn't;
touch a dollar of another man's money now for a mil-
lion. After I get married I'm going to sell out and go
West, where there won't be so much danger of having
old scores brought up against me. I tell you, Billy,
she's an angel. She believes in me; and I wouldn't
do another crooked thing for the whole world. Be
sure to be at Sully's, for I must see you. I'll bring
along the tools with me.
Your old friend,
On the Monday night after Jimmy wrote
this letter, Ben Price jogged unobtrusively
into Elmore in a livery buggy. He lounged
about town in his quiet way until he found
out what he wanted to know. From the
drug-store across the street from Spencer's
shoe-store he got a good look at Ralph D.
"Going to marry the banker's daughter
are you, Jimmy?" said Ben to himself softly.
"Well, I don't know!"
The next morning Jimmy took breakfast
at the Adamses. He was going to Little
Rock that day to order his wedding-suit and
buy something nice for Annabel. That would
be the first time he had left town since he
254 A Retrieved Reformation
came to Elmore. It had been more than a
year now since those last professional "jobs,"
and he thought he could safely venture out.
After breakfast quite a family party went
downtown together Mr. Adams, Annabel,
Jimmy, and Annabel's married sister with
her two little girls, aged five and nine. They
came by the hotel where Jimmy still boarded,
and he ran up to his room and brought along
his suit-case. Then they went on to the
bank. There stood Jimmy's horse and buggy
and Dolph Gibson, who was going to drive
him over to the railroad station.
All went inside the high, carved oak rail-
ings into the banking-room Jimmy included,
for Mr. Adams's future son-in-law was wel-
come anywhere. The clerks were pleased to
be greeted by the good-looking, agreeable
young man who was going to marry Miss
Annabel. Jimmy set his suit-case down.
Annabel, whose heart was bubbling with
happiness and lively youth, put on Jimmy's
hat, and picked up the suit-case. "Wouldn't
I make a nice drummer?" said Annabel.
"My! Ralph, how heavy it is? Feels like
it was full of gold bricks."
"Lot of nickel-plated shoe-horns in there,"
A Retrieved Reformation 255
said Jimmy, coolly, "that I'm going to return.
Thought I'd save express charges by taking
them up. I'm getting awfully economical."
The Elmore Bank had just put in a new
safe and vault. Mr. Adams was very proud
of it, and insisted on an inspection by every
one. The vault was a small one, but it had
a new, patented door. It fastened with
three solid steel bolts thrown simultaneously
with a single handle, and had a time-lock.
Mr. Adams beamingly explained its workings
to Mr. Spencer, who showed a courteous
but not too intelligent interest. The two
children, May and Agatha, were delighted by
the shining metal and funny clock and knobs.
While they were thus engaged Ben Price
sauntered in and leaned on his elbow, looking
casually inside between the railings. He told
the teller that he didn't want anything; he
was just waiting for a man he knew.
Suddenly there was a scream or two from
the women, and a commotion. Unperceived
by the elders, May, the nine-year-old girl, in
a spirit of play, had shut Agatha in the vault.
She had then shot the bolts and turned the
knob of the combination as she had seen Mr.
256 A Retrieved Reformation
The old banker sprang to the handle and
tugged at it for a moment. "The door can't
be opened," he groaned. "The clock hasn't
been wound nor the combination set."
Agatha's mother screamed again, hysteri-
"Hush!" said Mr. Adams, raising his
trembling hand. "All be quiet for a moment.
Agatha!" he called as loudly as he could.
" Listen to me." During the following silence
they could just hear the faint sound of the
child wildly shrieking in the dark vault in a
panic of terror.
"My precious darling!" wailed the mother.
"She will die of fright! Open the door!
Oh, break it open! Can't you men do some-
"There isn't a man nearer than Little Rock
who can open that door," said Mr. Adams, in
a shaky voice. "My God! Spencer, what
shall we do? That child she can't stand it
long in there. There isn't enough air, and,
besides, she'll go into convulsions from fright."
Agatha's mother, frantic now, beat the
door of the vault with her hands. Somebody
wildly suggested dynamite. Annabel turned
to Jimmy, her large eyes full of anguish, but
A Retrieved Reformation 257
not yet despairing. To a woman nothing
seems quite impossible to the powers of the
man she worships.
"Can't you do something, Ralph try,
He looked at her with a queer, soft smile on
his lips and in his keen eyes.
"Annabel," he said, "give me that rose you
are wearing, will you?"
Hardly believing that she heard him aright,
she unpinned the bud from the bosom of her
dress, and placed it in his hand. Jimmy stuf-
fed it into his vest-pocket, threw off his coat,
and pulled up his shirt-sleeves. With that
act Ralph D. Spencer passed away and
Jimmy Valentine took his place.
"Get away from the door, all of you," he
He set his suit-case on the table, and opened
it out flat. From that time on he seemed to
be unconscious of the presence of any one else.
He laid out the shining, queer implements
swiftly and orderly, whistling softly to him-
self as he always did when at work. In
a deep silence and immovable, the others
watched him as if under a spell.
In a minute Jimmy's pet drill was biting
258 A Retrieved Reformation
smoothly into the steel door. In ten min-
utes breaking his own burglarious record-
he threw back the bolts and opened the door.
Agatha, almost collapsed, but safe, was
gathered into her mother's arms.
Jimmy Valentine put on his coat, and
walked outside the railings toward the front
door. As he went he thought he heard a far-
away voice that he once knew call "Ralph!"
But he never hesitated.
At the door a big man stood somewhat in
"Hello, Ben!" said Jimmy, still with his
strange smile "Got around at last, have
you? Well, let's go. I don't know that it
makes much difference, now."
And then Ben Price acted rather strangely.
"Guess you're mistaken, Mr. Spencer," he
said. "Don't believe I recognize you. Your
buggy's waiting for you, ain't it?"
And Ben Price turned and strolled down
A DOUBLE-DYED DECEIVER
THE trouble began in Laredo. It was the
Llano Kid's fault, for he should have confined
his habit of manslaughter to Mexicans. But
the Kid was past twenty; and to have only
Mexicans to one's credit at twenty is to blush
unseen on the Rio Grande border.
It happened in old Justo Valdos's gambling
house. There was a poker game at which sat
players who were not all friends, as happens
often where men ride in from afar to shoot
Folly as she gallops. There was a row over so
small a matter as a pair of queens; and when
the smoke had cleared away it was found that
the Kid had committed an indiscretion, and
his adversary had been guilty of a blunder.
For, the unfortunate combatant, instead of
being a Greaser, was a high-blooded youth
from the cow ranches, of about the Kid's
own age and possessed of friends and cham-
pions. His blunder in missing the Kid's
260 A Double-Dyed Deceiver
right ear only a sixteenth of an inch when he
pulled his gun did not lessen the indiscretion
of the better marksman.
The Kid, not being equipped with a ret-
inue, nor bountifully supplied with personal
admirers and supporters on account of a
rather umbrageous reputation, even for the
border considered it not incompatible with
his indisputable gameness to perform that
judicious tractional act known as "pulling
Quickly the avengers gathered and sought
him. Three of them overtook him within
a rod of the station. The Kid turned and
showed his teeth in that brilliant but mirthless
smile that usually preceded his deeds of in-
solence and violence, and his pursuers fell
back without making it necessary for him
even to reach for his weapon.
But in this affair the Kid had not felt the
grim thirst for encounter that usually urged
him on to battle. It had been a purely
chance row, born of the cards and certain
epithets impossible for a gentleman to brook
that had passed between the two. The Kid
had rather liked the slim, haughty, brown-
faced young chap whom his bullet had cut
,^A Double-Dyed Deceiver 261
off in the first pride of manhood. And now
he wanted no more blood. He wanted to
get away and have a good long sleep some-
where in the sun on the mesquite grass with
his handkerchief over his face. Even a
Mexican might have crossed his path in
safety while he was in this mood.
The Kid openly boarded the north-bound
passenger train that departed five minutes
later. But at Webb, a few miles out, where
it was flagged to take on a traveller, he
abandoned that manner of escape. There
were telegraph stations ahead; and the Kid
looked askance at electricity and steam.
Saddle and spur were his rocks of safety.
The man whom he had shot was a stranger
to him. But the Kid knew that he was of
the Coralitos outfit from Hidalgo; and that
the punchers from that ranch were more re-
lentless and vengeful than Kentucky feudists
when wrong or harm was done to one of them.
So, with the wisdom that has characterized
many great fighters, the Kid decided to pile
up as many leagues as possible of chaparral
and pear between himself and the retaliation
of the Coralitos bunch.
Near the station was a store; and near the
262 A Double-Dyed Deceiver
store, scattered among the mesquites and
elms, stood the saddle horses of the customers.
Most of them waited, half asleep, with sag-
ging limbs and drooping heads. But one, a
long-legged roan with a curved neck, snorted
and pawed the turf. Him the Kid mounted,
gripped with his knees, and slapped gently
with the owner's own quirt.
If the slaying of the temerarious card-
player had cast a cloud over the Kid's standing
as a good and true citizen, this last act of
his veiled his figure in the darkest shadows of
disrepute. On the Rio Grande border if
you take a man's life you sometimes take
trash; but if you take his horse, you take a
thing the loss of which renders him poor, in-
deed, and which enriches you not if you are
caught. For the Kid there was no turning
With the springing roan under him he felt
little care or uneasiness. After a five-mile
gallop he drew in to the plainsman's jogging
trot, and rode northeastward toward the
Nueces River bottoms. He knew the country
well its most tortuous and obscure trails
through the great wilderness of brush and
pear, and its camps and lonesome ranches
A Double-Dyed Deceiver 263'
where one might find safe entertainment.
Always he bore to the east; for the Kid had
never seen the ocean, and he had a fancy to
lay his hand upon the mane of the great Gulf,
the gamesome colt of the greater waters.
So after three days he stood on the shore
at Corpus Christi, and looked out across the
gentle ripples of a quiet sea.
Captain Boone, of the schooner Flyaway,
stood near his skiff, which one of his crew
was guarding in the surf. When ready to
sail he had discovered that one of the neces-
saries of life, in the parallelogrammatic shape
of plug tobacco, had been forgotten. A
sailor had been dispatched for the missing
cargo. Meanwhile the captain paced the
sands, chewing profanely at his pocket store.
A slim, wiry youth in high-heeled boots
came down to the water's edge. His face was
boyish, but with a premature severity that
hinted at a man's experience. His complexion
was naturally dark; and the sun and wind of
an outdoor life had burned it to a coffee brown.
His hair was as black and straight as an In-
dian's; his face had not yet been upturned to
the humiliation of a razor; his eyes were a
cold and steady blue. He carried his left
264 A Double-Dyed Deceiver
arm somewhat away from his body, for pearl-
handled .455 are frowned upon by town mar-
shals, and are a little bulky when packed in
the left armhole of one's vest. He looked
beyond Captain Boone at the gulf with
the impersonal and expressionless dignity of
a Chinese emperor.
"Thinkin' of buyin' that'ar gulf, buddy?"
asked the captain, made sarcastic by his
narrow escape from a tobaccoless voyage.
"Why, no," said the Kid gently, "I reckon
not. I never saw it before. I was just
looking at it. Not thinking of selling it,
"Not this trip," said the captain. "I'll
send it to you C. O. D. when I get back to
Buenas Tierras. Here comes that capstan-
footed lubber with the chewin'. I ought toVe
weighed anchor an hour ago."
"Is that your ship out there ?" asked the
"Why, yes," answered the captain, "if
you want to call a schooner a ship, and I
don't mind lyin'. But you better say Miller
and Gonzales, owners, and ordinary plain,
Billy-be-damned old Samuel K. Boone, skip-
'He knew the country well its most tortuous and obscure trails
through the great wilderness"
A Double-Dyed Deceiver 265
"Where are you going to?" asked the ref-
" Buenas Tierras, coast of South America
I forgot what they called the country the last
time I was there. Cargo lumber, corrugated
iron, and machetes."
"What kind of a country is it?" asked the
Kid "hot or cold?"
"Warmish, buddy," said the captain. " But
a regular Paradise Lost for elegance of scenery
and be-yooty of geography. Ye're wakened
every morning by the sweet singin' of red
birds with seven purple tails, and the sighin'
of breezes in the posies and roses. And the
inhabitants never work, for they can reach
out and pick steamer baskets of the choicest
hothouse fruit without gettin' out of bed.
And there's no Sunday and no ice and no
rent and no troubles and no use and no
nothin'. It's a great country for a man to
go to sleep with, and wait for somethin' to
turn up. The bananys and oranges and
hurricanes and pineapples that ye eat comes
"That sounds to me!" said the Kid, at last
betraying interest. "What'll the expressage
be to take me out there with you?"
266 A Double-Dyed Deceiver
"Twenty-four dollars," said Captain Boone;
"grub and transportation. Second cabin. I
haven't got a first cabin."
"You've got my company," said the Kid,
pulling out a buckskin bag.
With three hundred dollars he had gone to
Laredo for his regular "blowout." The duel
in Valdos's had cut short his season of hilarity,
but it had left him with nearly $200 for aid
in the flight that it had made necessary.
"All right, buddy," said the captain. "I
hope your ma won't blame me for this little
childish escapade of yours." He beckoned
to one of the boat's crew. "Let Sanchez lift
you out to the skiff so you won't get your
Thacker, the United States consul at Buenas
Tierras, was not yet drunk. It was only
eleven o'clock; and he never arrived at his
desired state of beatitude a state wherein
he sang ancient maudlin vaudeville songs and
pelted his screaming parrot with banana
peels until the middle of the afternoon. So,
when he looked up from his hammock at the
sound of a slight cough, and saw the Kid
standing in the door of the consulate, he was
A Double-Dyed Deceiver 267
still in a condition to extend the hospitality
and courtesy due from the representative of a
great nation. "Don't disturb yourself," said
the Kid easily. "I just dropped in. They
told me it was customary to light at your
camp before starting in to round up the town.
I just came in on a ship from Texas."
"Glad to see you, Mr. -," said the consul.
The Kid laughed.
"Sprague Dalton," he said. "It sounds
funny to me to hear it. I'm called the Llano
Kid in the Rio Grande country."
"I'm Thacker," said the consul. "Take
that cane-bottom chair. Now if you've come
to invest, you want somebody to advise you.
These dingies will cheat you out of the gold in
your teeth if you don't understand their
ways. Try a cigar?"
"Much obliged," said the Kid, "but if it
wasn't for my corn shucks and the little bag
in my back pocket I couldn't live a minute."
He took out his "makings," and rolled a
"They speak Spanish here," said the consul.
"You'll need an interpreter. If there's any-
thing I can do, why, I'd be delighted. If
you're buying fruit lands or looking for a
'268 A Double-Dyed Deceiver
concession of any sort, you'll want somebody
who knows the ropes to look out for you/ 5
"I speak Spanish/' said the Kid, "about
nine times better than I do English. Every-
body speaks it on the range where I come
from. And I'm not in the market for any-
"You speak Spanish?" said Thacker
thoughtfully. He regarded the Kid absorb-
"You look like a Spaniard, too," he con-
tinued, *" And you're from Texas. And you
can't be more than twenty or twenty-one. I
wonder if you've got any nerve."
"You got a deal of some kind to put
through?" asked the Texan, with unexpected
"Are you open to a proposition?" said
"What's the use to deny it?" said the Kid.
"I got into a little gun frolic down in Laredo
and plugged a white man. There wasn't any
Mexican handy. And I come down to your
parrot-and-monkey range just for to smell the
morning-glories and marigolds. Now, do you
Thacker got up and closed the door.
A Double-Dyed Deceiver, 269
"Let me see your hand," he said.
He took the Kid's left hand, and examined
the back of it closely.
"I can do it," he said excitedly. "Your
flesh is as hard as wood and as healthy as a
baby's. It will heal in a week."
"If it's a v fist fight you want to back me
for," said the Kid, "don't put your money up
yet. Make it gun work, and I'll keep you
company. But no barehanded scrapping,
like ladies at a tea-party, for me."
"It's easier than that," said Thacker.
"Just step here, will you?"
Through the window he pointed to a two-
story white-stuccoed house with wide galleries
rising amid the deep-green tropical foliage
on a wooded hill that sloped gently from the
"In that house," said Thacker, "a fine old
Castilian gentleman and his wife are yearning
to gather you into their arms and fill your
pockets with money. Old Santos Urique
lives there. He owns half the gold-mines in
"You haven't been eating loco weed, have
you?" asked the Kid.
"Sit down again," said Thacker, "and I'll
270 A Double-Dyed Deceiver
tell you. Twelve years ago they lost a kid.
No, he didn't die although most of 'em here
do from drinking the surface water. He was a
wild little devil, even if he wasn't but eight
years old. Everybody knows about it. Some
Americans who were through here prospecting
for gold had letters to Senor Urique, and the
boy was a favourite with them. They filled
his head with big stories about the States;
and about a month after they left, the kid
disappeared, too. He was supposed to have
stowed himself away among the banana
bunches on a fruit steamer, and gone to New
Orleans. He was seen once afterward in
Texas, it was thought, but they never heard
anything more of him. Old Urique has
spent thousands of dollars having him looked
for. The madam was broken up worst of all.
The kid was her life. She wears mourning
yet. But they say she believes he'll come
back to her some day, and never gives up
hope. On the back of the boy's left hand
was tattooed a flying eagle carrying a spear in
his, claws. That's old Urique's coat of arms
or something that he inherited in Spain."
The Kid raised his left hand slowly and
gazed at it curiously.
A Double-Dyed Deceiver 271
"That's it," said Thacker, reaching behind
the official desk for his bottle of smuggled
brandy. "You're not so slow. I can do it.
What was I consul at Sandakan for? I never
knew till now. In a week I'll have the eagle
bird with the frog-sticker blended in so you'd
think you were born with it. I brought a
set of the needles and ink just because I was
sure you'd drop in some day, Mr. Dalton."
"Oh, hell," said the Kid. "I thought I
told you my name!"
"All right, 'Kid,' then. It won't be that
long. How does Senorito Urique sound, for a
"I never played son any that I remember
of," said the Kid. "If I had any parents to
mention they went over the divide about the
time I gave my first bleat. What is the plan
of your round-up ?"
Thacker leaned back against the wall and
held his glass up to the light.
"We've come now," said he, "to the ques-
tion of how far you're willing to go in a little
matter of the sort."
" I told you why I came down here," said the
"A good answer," said the Consul. "But
272 A Double-Dyed Deceiver
you won't have to go that far. Here's the
scheme. After I get the trademark tattooed
on your hand I'll notifv old Urique. In the
meantime I'll furnish y with all of the
family history I can find out, so you can be
studying up points to talk about. You've
got the looks, you speak the Spanish, you know
the facts, you can tell about Texas, you've
got the tattoo mark. When I notify them
that the rightful heir has returned and is
waiting f r^ " whether he will be received
and paraone6 what will happen? They'll
simply rush dt^wn here and fall on your neck,
and the curtain goes down for refreshments
and a stroll in the lobby."
"I'm waiting," said the Kid. "I haven't
had my saddle off in your camp long, pardner,
and I never met you before ; but if you intend
to let it go at a parental blessing, why, I'm
mistaken in my man, that's all."
"Thanks," said the consul. "I haven't
met anybody in a long time that keeps up
with an argument as well as you do. The
rest of it is simple. If they take you in only
for a while it's long enough. Don't give 'em
time to hunt up the strawberry mark on your
left shoulder. Old Urique keeps anywhere
A Double-Dyed Deceiver 273
from $50,000 to $100,000 in his house all the
time in a little safe that you could open with a
shoe buttoner. Get it. My skill as a tat-
tooer is worth half v boodle. We go halves
and catch a tramp steamer for Rio Janeiro.
Let the United States go to pieces if it can't
get along without my services. Que dice,
"It sounds to me!" said the Kid, nodding
his head. "I'm out for the dust."
"All right, then," said THr^r "You'll
have to keep close until we . tui bird on
you. You can live in the ba :k room here.
I do my own cooking, and I'll make you as
comfortable as a parsimonious Government
will allow me." <
Thacker had set the time at a week, but it
was two weeks before the design that he
patiently tattooed upon the Kid's hand was
to his notion. And then Thacker called a
muchacho, and dispatched this note to the
EL SENOR DON SANTOS URIQUE,
La Casa Blanca,
MY DEAR SIR:
I beg permission to inform you that there is in my
house as a temporary guest a young man who arrived
274 A Double-Dyed Deceiver
in Buenas Tierras from the United States some days
ago. Without wishing to excite any hopes that may
not be realized, I think there is a possibility of his
being your long-absent son. It might be well for you
to call and see him. If he is, it is my opinion that his
intention was to return to his home, but upon arriving
here, his courage failed him from doubts as to how
he would be received.
Your true servant,
Half an hour afterward quick time for
Buenas Tierras Senor Urique's ancient lan-
dau drove to the consul's door, with the
barefooted coachman beating and shouting
at the team of fat, awkward horses.
A tall man with a white moustache alighted,
and assisted to the ground a lady who was
dressed and veiled in unrelieved black.
The two hastened inside, and were met by
Thacker with his best diplomatic bow. By
his desk stood a slender young man with clear-
cut, . sun-browned features and smoothly
brushed black hair.
Sefiora Urique threw back her heavy veil
with a quick gesture. She was past middle
age, and her hair was beginning to silver, but
her full, proud figure and clear olive skin
A Double-Dyed Deceiver 275
retained traces of the beauty peculiar to the
Basque province. But, once you had seen
her eyes, and comprehended the great sad-
ness that was revealed in their deep shadows
and hopeless expression, you saw that the
woman lived only in some memory.
She bent upon the young man a long look
of the most agonized questioning. Then
her great black eyes turned, and her gaze
rested upon his left hand. And then with a
sob, not loud, but seeming to shake the room,
she cried, "Hijo mio !" and caught the Llano
Kid to her heart.
A month afterward the Kid came to the
consulate in response to a message sent by
He looked the young Spanish caballero.
His clothes were imported, and the wiles of
the jewellers had not been spent upon him in
rain. A more than respectable diamond
shone on his finger as he rolled a shuck ciga-
"What's doing?" asked Thacker.
"Nothing much," said the Kid calmly.
" I eat my first iguana steak to-day. They're
them big lizards, you sabe ? I reckon, though,
276 A Double-Dyed Deceiver
that frijoles and side bacon would do me about
as well. Do you care for iguanas, Thacker?"
"No, nor for some other kinds of reptiles,"
It was three in the afternoon, and in an-
other hour he would be in his state of beati-
"It's time you were making good, sonny,"
he went on, with an ugly look on his reddened
face. "You're not playing up to me square.
You've been the prodigal son for four weeks
now, and you could have had veal for every
meal on a gold dish if you'd wanted it. Now,
Mr. Kid, do you think it's right to leave me
out so long on a husk diet? What's the
trouble? Don't you get your filial eyes on
anything that looks like cash in the Casa
Blanca? Don't tell me you don't. Every-
body knows where old Urique keeps his stuff.
It's U. S. currency, too; he don't accept any-
thing else. What's doing? Don't say 'noth-
ing' this time."
"Why, sure," said the Kid, admiring his
diamond, "there's plenty of money up there.
I'm no judge of collateral in bunches, but I
will undertake for to say that I've seen the
rise of $50,000 at a time in that tin grub
A Double-Dyed Deceiver 277
box that my adopted father calls his safe.
And he lets me carry the key sometimes
just to show me that he knows I'm the real
little Francisco that strayed from the herd
a long time ago."
"Well, what are you waiting for?" asked
Thacker angrily. "Don't you forget that I
can upset your apple-cart any day I want to.
If old Urique knew you were an impostor,
what sort of things would happen to you?
Oh, you don't know this country, Mr. Texas
Kid. The laws here have got mustard spread
between 'em. These people here'd stretch
you out like a frog that had been stepped on,
and give you about fifty sticks at every
corner of the plaza. And they'd wear every
stick out, too. What was left of you they'd
feed to alligators."
"I might as well tell you now, pardner,"
said the Kid, sliding down low on his steamer
chair, "that things are going to stay just as
they are. They're about right now."
"What do you mean?" asked Thacker,
rattling the bottom of his glass on his desk,
"The scheme's off," said the Kid. "And
whenever you have the pleasure of speaking
to me address me as Don Francisco Urique.
278 A Double-Dyed Deceiver
I'll guarantee I'll answer to it. We'll let
Colonel Urique keep his money. His little
tin safe is as good as the time-locker in the
First National Bank of Laredo as far as you
and me are concerned."
"You're going to throw me down, then,
are you?" said the consul.
"Sure," said the Kid cheerfully. "Throw
you down. That's it. And now I'll tell you
why. The first night I was up at" the Colo-
nel's house they introduced me to a bed-
room. No blankets on the floor a real
room, with a bed and things in it. And be-
fore I was asleep, in comes this artificial
mother of mine and tucks in the covers.
'Panchito/ she says, c my little lost one, God
has brought you back to me. I bless His
name forever.' It was that, or some truck
like that, she said. And down comes a drop
or two of rain and hits me on the nose. And
all that stuck by me, Mr. Thacker. And it's
been that way ever since. And it's got to
stay that way. Don't you think that it's
for what's in it for me, either, that I say so.
If you have any such ideas, keep 'em to
yourself. I haven't had much, truck with
women in my life, and no mothers to speak
A Double-Dyed Deceiver 279
of, but here's a lady that we've got to keep
fooled. Once she stood it; twice she won't.
I'm a low-down wolf, and the devil may have
sent me on this trail instead of God, but I'll
travel it to the end. And now, don't forget
that I'm Don Francisco Urique whenever
you happen to mention my name."
"I'll expose you to-day, you you double-
dyed traitor," stammered Thacker.
The Kid arose and, without violence, took
Thacker by the throat with a hand of steel,
and shoved him slowly into a corner. Then
he drew from under his left arm his pearl-
handled .45 and poked the cold muzzle of it
against the consul's mouth.
"I told you why I come here," he said,
with his old freezing smile. " If I leave here,
you'll be the reason. Never forget it, pardner.
Now, what is my name?"
"Er Don Francisco Urique," gasped
From outside came a sound of wheels, and
the shouting of some one, and the sharp
thwacks of a wooden whipstock upon the
backs of fat horses.
The Kid put up his gun, and walked to-
ward the door. But he turned again and
280 A Double-Dyed Deceiver
came back to the trembling Thacker, and
held up his left hand with its back toward
"There's one more reason," he said slowly,
"why things have got to stand as they are.
The fellow I killed in Laredo had one of them
same pictures on his left hand."
Outside, the ancient landau of Don Santos
Urique rattled to the door. The coachman
ceased his bellowing. Senora Urique, in a
voluminous gay gown of white lace and flying
ribbons, leaned forward with a happy look
in her great soft eyes.
"Are you within, dear son?" she called,
in the rippling Castilian.
" Madre mia, yo vengo [mother, I come],"
answered the voung Don Francisco Urique.
THE THEORY AND THE HOUND!
NOT many days ago my old friend from the
tropics, J. P. Bridger, United States consul
on the island of Ratona, was in the city. We
had wassail and jubilee and saw the Flatiron
building, and missed seeing the Bronxless
menagerie by about a couple of nights. And
then, at the ebb tide, we were walking up a
street that parallels and parodies Broadway.
A woman with a comely and mundane
countenance passed us, holding in leash a
wheezing, vicious, waddling, brute of a yellow
pug. The dog entangled himself with Brid-
ger' s legs and mumbled his ankles in a snarl-
ing, peevish, sulky bite. Bridger, with a
happy smile, kicked the breath out of the
brute; the woman showered us with a quick
rain of well-conceived adjectives that left
us in no doubt as to our place in her opinion,
and we passed on. Ten yards farther an
old woman with disordered white hair and
282 The Theory and the Hound
her bankbook tucked well hidden beneath
her tattered shawl begged. Bridger stopped
and disinterred for her a quarter from his
On the next corner a quarter of a ton of
well-clothed man with a rice-powdered, fat,
white jowl, stood holding the chain of a devil-
born bulldog whose forelegs were strangers
by the length of a dachshund. A little wo-
man in a last season's hat confronted him and
wept, which was plainly all she could do,
while he cursed her in low, sweet, practised
Bridger smiled again strictly to himself-
and this time he took out a little memorandum
book and made a note of it. This he had no
right to do without due explanation, and I
"It's a new theory," said Bridger, "that I
picked up down in Ratona. I've been gather-
ing support for it as I knock about. The
world isn't ripe for it yet, but well, I'll tell
you; and then you run your mind back along
the people you've known and see what you
make of it."
And so I cornered Bridger in a place where
they have artificial palms and wine; and he
The Theory and the Hound 283
told me the story which is here in my words
and on his responsibility.
One afternoon at three o'clock, on the is-
land of Ratona, a boy raced along the beach
screaming, " Pajaro, ahoy!"
Thus he made known the keenness of his
hearing and the justice of his discrimination
He who first heard and made oral proclama-
tion concerning the toot of an approaching
steamer's whistle, and correctly named the
steamer, was a small hero in Ratona until
the next steamer came. Wherefore, there
was rivalry among the barefoot youth of
Ratona, and many fell victims to the softly
blown conch shells of sloops which, as they
enter harbour, sound surprisingly like a dis-
tant steamer's signal. And some could name
you the vessel when its call, in your duller
ears, sounded no louder than the sigh of the
wind through the branches of the cocoanut
But to-day he who proclaimed the Pajaro
gained his honours. Ratona bent its ear to
listen; and soon the deep^tongued blast grew
louder and nearer, and at length Ratona
saw above the line of palms on the low "point"
284 The Theory and the Hound
the two black funnels of the fruiter slowly
creeping toward the mouth of the harbour.
You rmrst know that Ratona is an island
twenty miles off the south of a South Ameri-
can republic. It is a port of that republic;
and it sleeps sweetly in a smiling sea, toiling
not nor spinning; fed by the abundant tropics
where all things "ripen, cease, and fall toward
Eight hundred people dream life away in a
green-embowered village that follows the
horseshoe curve of its bijou harbour. They
are mostly Spanish and Indian mestizos,
with a shading of San Domingo Negroes, a
lightening of pure-blood Spanish officials, and
a slight leavening of the froth of three or four
pioneering white races. No steamers touch
at Ratona save the fruit steamers which take
on their banana inspectors there on their
way to the coast. They leave Sunday news-
papers, ice, quinine, bacon, watermelons, and
vaccine matter at the island and that is
about all the touch Ratona gets with the world.
The Pajaro paused at the mouth of the
harbour, rolling heavily in the swell that
sent the whitecaps racing beyond the smooth
water inside. Already two dories from the
The Theory and the Hound 285
village one conveying fruit inspectors, the
other going for what it could get were half-
way out to the steamer.
The inspector's dory was taken on board
with them, and the Pajaro steamed away for
the mainland for its load of fruit.
The other boat returned to Ratona bear-
ing a contribution from the Pajaro' s store of
ice, the usual roll of newspapers and one
passenger Taylor Plunkett, sheriff of Chat-
ham County, Kentucky.
Bridger, the United States consul at Ra-
tona, was cleaning his rifle in the official
shanty under a bread-fruit tree twenty yards
from the water of the harbour. The consul
occupied a place somewhat near the tail of
his political party's procession. The music
of the band wagon sounded very faintly to
him in the distance. The plums of office
went to others. Bridger's share of the spoils
the consulship at Ratona was little more
than a prune a dried prune from the board-
ing-house department of the public crib. But
$900 yearly was opulence in Ratona. Be-
sides, Bridger had contracted a passion for
shooting alligators in the lagoons near his
consulate, and he was not unhappy.
286 The Theory and the Hound
He looked up from a careful inspection of
his rifle lock and saw a broad man filling
his doorway. A broad, noiseless, slow-moving
man, sunburned almost to the brown of Van-
dyke. A man of forty-five, neatly clothed in
homespun, with scanty light hair, a close-
clipped brown-and-gray beard, and pale-blue
eyes expressing mildness and simplicity.
"You are Mr. Bridger, the consul," said
the broad man. "They directed me here.
Can you tell me what those big bunches of
things like gourds are in those trees that look
like feather dusters along the edge of the
"Take that chair," said the consul, re-
oiling his cleaning rag. "No, the other one
that bamboo thing won't hold you. Why,
they're cocoanuts green cocoanuts. The
shell of 'em is always a light green before
"Much obliged," said the other man, sitting
down carefully. "I didn't quite like to tell
the folks at home they were olives unless I
was sure about it. My name is Plunkett.
I'm sheriff of Chatham County, Kentucky.
I've got extradition papers in my pocket
authorizing the arrest of a man on this is-
The Theory and the Hound 287
land. They've been signed by the President
of this country, and they're in correct shape.
The man's name is Wade Williams. He's in
the cocoanut raising business. What he's
wanted for is the murder of his wife two
years ago. Where can I find him?"
The consul squinted an eye and looked
through his rifle barrel.
"There's nobody on the island who calls
himself 'Williams,'" he remarked.
"Didn't suppose there was," said Plunkett
mildly. "He'll do by any other name."
"Besides myself," said Bridger, "there are
only two Americans on Ratona Bob Reeves
and Henry Morgan."
"The man I want sells cocoanuts," sug-
"You see that cocoanut walk extending up
to the point?" said the consul, waving his
hand toward the open door. "That belongs
to Bob Reeves. Henry Morgan owns half
the trees to loo'ard on the island."
"One month ago," said the sheriff, "Wade
Williams wrote a confidential letter to a
man in Chatham County, telling him where
he was and how he was getting along. The
letter was lost; and the person that found it
288 The Theory and the Hound
gave it away. They sent me after him.
and I've got the papers. I reckon he's one
of your cocoanut men for certain."
"You've got his picture, of course," said
Bridger. "It might be Reeves or Morgan,
but I'd hate to think it. They're both as
fine fellows as you'd meet in an all-day auto
"No," doubtfully answered Plunkett; "there
wasn't any picture of Williams to be had.
And I never saw him myself. I've been
sheriff only a year. But I've got a pretty
accurate description of him. About 5 feet
n; dark hair and eyes; nose inclined to
be Roman; heavy about the shoulders; strong,
white teeth, with none missing; laughs a
good deal, talkative; drinks considerably
but never to intoxication; looks you square
in the eye when talking; age thirty-five.
Which one of your men does that description
The consul grinned broadly.
"I'll tell you what you do," he said, laying
down his rifle and slipping on his dingy black
alpaca coat. "You come along, Mr. Plunkett,
and I'll take you up to see the boys. If you
can tell which one of 'em your description
The Theory and the Hound 289
fits better than it does the other you have the
advantage of me."
Bridger conducted the sheriff out and
along the hard beach close to which the tiny
houses of the village were distributed. Im-
mediately back of the town rose sudden,
small, thickly wooded hills. Up one of these,
by means of steps cut in the hard clay, the
consul led Plunkett. On the very verge of
an eminence was perched a two-room wooden
cottage with a thatched roof. A Carib wo-
man was washing clothes outside. The consul
ushered the sheriff to the door of the room
that overlooked the harbour.
Two men were in the room, about to sit
down, in their shirt sleeves, to a table spread
for dinner. They bore little resemblance
one to the other in detail; but the general
description given by Plunkett could have
been justly applied to either. In height,
colour of hair, shape of nose, build, and man-
ners each of them tallied with it. They
were fair types of jovial, ready-witted, broad-
gauged Americans who had gravitated to-
gether for companionship in an alien land.
"Hello, Bridger!" they called in unison at
sight of the consul. "Come and have dinner
290 The Theory and the Hound
with us!" And then they noticed Plunkett
at his heels, and came forward with hospitable
"Gentlemen," said the consul, his voice
taking on unaccustomed formality, "this is
Mr. Plunkett. Mr. Plunkett Mr. Reeves
and Mr. Morgan."
The cocoanut barons greeted the newcomer
joyously. Reeves seemed about an inch taller
than Morgan, but his laugh was not quite as
loud. Morgan's eyes were deep brown;
Reeves's were black. Reeves was the host
and busied himself with fetching other chairs
and calling to the Carib woman for supple-
mental table ware. It was explained that
Morgan lived in a bamboo shack to "loo'ard,"
but that every day the two friends dined
together. Plunkett stood still during the
preparations, looking about mildly with his
pale-blue eyes. Bridger looked apologetic
At length two other covers were laid and
the company was assigned to places. Reeves
and Morgan stood side by side across the
table from the visitors. Reeves nodded geni-
ally as a signal for all to seat themselves. And
then suddenly Plunkett raised his hand with a
The Theory and the Hound 291
gesture of authority. He was looking straight
between Reeves and Morgan.
"Wade Williams/' he said quietly, "y u
are under arrest for murder."
Reeves and Morgan instantly exchanged a
quick, bright glance, the quality of which
was interrogation, with a seasoning of sur-
prise. Then, simultaneously they turned to
the speaker with a puzzled and frank depre-
cation in their gaze.
"Can't say that we understand you, Mr.
Plunkett," said Morgan cheerfully. "Did
you say 'Williams'?"
"What's the joke, Bridgy?" asked Reeves,
turning to the consul with a smile.
Before Bridger could answer Plunkett spoke
"I'll explain," he said quietly. "One of
you don't need any explanation, but this is
for the other one. One of you is Wade Wil-
liams of Chatham County, Kentucky. You
murdered your wife on May 5th, two years
ago, after ill-treating and abusing her con-
tinually for five years. I have the proper
papers in my pocket for taking you back
with me, and you are going. We will return
on the fruit steamer that comes back by this
292 The Theory and the Hound
island to-morrow to leave its inspectors. I
acknowledge, gentlemen, that I'm not quite
sure which one of you is Williams. But
Wade Williams goes back to Chatham County
to-morrow. I want you to understand that."
A great sound of merry laughter from Mor-
gan and Reeves went out over the still har-
bour. Two or three fishermen in the fleet
of sloops anchored there looked up at the
house of the diablos Americanos on the hill
"My dear Mr. Plunkett," cried Morgan,
conquering his mirth, "the dinner is getting
cold. Let us sit down and eat. I am anxious
to get my spoon into that sharkfin soup.
"Sit down, gentlemen, if you please," added
Reeves pleasantly. "I am sure Mr. Plun-
kett will not object. ^ Perhaps a little time
may be of advantage to him in identifying
the gentleman he wishes to arrest."
"No objections, I'm sure," said Plunkett,
dropping into his chair heavily. "I'm hungry
myself. I didn't want to accept the hos-
pitality of you folks without giving you notice ;
Reeves set bottles and glasses on the table.
The Theory and the Hound 293
"There's cognac," he said, "and anisada,
and Scotch 'smoke,' and rye. Take your
Bridger chose rye, Reeves poured three
fingers of Scotch for himself, Morgan took
the same. The sheriff, against much pro-
testation, filled his glass from the water
"Here's to the appetite," said Reeves,
raising his glass, "of Mr. Williams!" Mor-
gan's laugh and his drink encountering sent
him into a choking splutter. All began to
pay attention to the dinner, which was well
cooked and palatable.
"Williams!" called Plunkett, suddenly and
All looked up wonderingly. Reeves found
the sheriff's mild eye resting upon him. He
flushed a little.
"See here," he said, with some asperity,
"my name's Reeves, and I don't want you
to But the comedy of the thing came
to his rescue, and he ended with a laugh.
"I suppose, Mr. Plunkett," said Morgan,
carefully seasoning an alligator pear, "that
you are aware of the fact that you will im-
port a good deal of trouble for yourself
294 The Theory and the Hound
into Kentucky if you take back the wrong
man that is, of course, if you take anybody
"Thank you for the salt/' said the sheriff.
"Oh, I'll take somebody back. It'll be one
of you two gentlemen. Yes, I know I'd get
stuck for damages if I make a mistake. But
I'm going to try to get the right man."
"I'll tell you what you do," said Morgan,
leaning forward with a jolly twinkle in his
eyes. "You take me. I'll go without any
trouble. The cocoanut business hasn't panned
out well this year, and I'd like to make some
extra money out of your bondsmen."
"That's not fair," chimed in Reeves. "I
got only $16 a thousand for my last ship-
ment. Take me, Mr. Plunkett."
"I'll take Wade Williams," said the sheriff,
patiently, "or I'll come pretty close to it."
"It's like dining with a ghost," remarked
Morgan, with a pretended shiver. "The
ghost of a murderer, too! Will somebody
pass the toothpicks to the shade of the
haughty Mr. Williams?"
Plunkett seemed as unconcerned as if he
were dining at his own table in Chatham
County. He was a gallant trencherman,
The Theory and the Hound 295
and the strange tropic viands tickled his
palate. Heavy, commonplace, almost sloth-
ful in his movements, he appeared to be de-
void of all the cunning and watchfulness of the
sleuth. He even ceased to observe, with any
sharpness or attempted discrimination, the
two men, one of whom he had undertaken,
with surprising self-confidence, to drag away
upon the serious charge of wife-murder.
Here, indeed, was a problem set before him
that if wrongly solved would have amounted
to his serious discomfiture, yet there he sat
puzzling his soul (to all appearances) over the
novel flavour of a broiled iguana cutlet.
The consul felt a decided discomfort. Reeves
and Morgan were his friends and pals; yet
the sheriff from Kentucky had a certain right
to his official aid and moral support. So
Bridger sat the silentest around the board
and tried to estimate the peculiar situation.
His conclusion was that both Reeves and
Morgan, quickwitted, as he knew them to be,
had conceived at the moment of Plunkett's
disclosure of his mission and in the brief
space of a lightning flash the idea that the
other might be the guilty Williams; and that
each of them had decided in that moment
296 The Theory and the Hound
loyally to protect his comrade against the
doom that threatened him. This was the
consul's theory and if he had been a book-
maker at a race of wits for life and liberty
he would have offered heavy odds against
the plodding sheriff from Chatham County,
When the meal was concluded the Carib
woman came and removed the dishes and
cloth. Reeves strewed the table with excellent
cigars, and Plunkett, with the others, lighted
one of these with evident gratification.
"I may be dull," said Morgan, with a grin
and a wink at Bridger; "but I want to know
if I am. Now, I say this is all a joke of Mr.
Plunkett's, concocted to frighten two babes-
in-the-woods. Is this Williamson to be taken
seriously or not?"
"'Williams,'" corrected Plunkett gravely.
"I never got off any jokes in my life. I know
I wouldn't travel 2,000 miles to get off a
poor one as this would be if I didn't take
Wade Williams back with me. Gentlemen!"
continued the sheriff, now letting his mild
eyes travel impartially from one of the com-
pany to another, "see if you can find any
joke in this case. Wade Williams is listening
The Theory and the Hound 297
to the words I utter now; but out of polite-
ness I will speak of him as a third person.
For five years he made his wife lead the life
of a dog No; I'll take that back. No dog
in Kentucky was ever treated as she was.
He spent the money that she brought him
spent it at races, at the card table, and on
horses and hunting. He was a good fellow
to his friends, but a cold, sullen demon at
home. He wound up the five years of neg-
lect by striking her with his closed hand a
hand as hard as a stone when she was ill
and weak from suffering. She died the next
day; and he skipped. That's all there is to
it. It's enough. I never saw Williams; but
I knew his wife. I'm not a man to tell half.
She and I were keeping company when she
met him. She went to Louisville on a visit
and saw him there. I'll admit that he spoilt
my chances in no time. I lived then on the
edge of the Cumberland mountains. I was
elected sheriff of Chatham County a year
after Wade Williams killed his wife. My
official duty sends me out here after him;
but I'll admit that there's personal feeling,
too. And he's going back with me. Mr.
er Reeves, will you pass me a match?"
298 The Theory and the Hound
"Awfully imprudent of Williams," said
Morgan, putting his feet up against the wall,
"to strike a Kentucky lady. Seems to me
I've heard they were scrappers."
"Bad, bad Williams," said Reeves, pouring
out more "Scotch."
The two men spoke lightly, but the consul
saw and felt the tension and the carefulness
in their actions and words. "Good old
fellows," he said to himself; "they're both
all right. Each of 'em is standing by the
other like a little brick church."
And then a dog walked into the room where
they sat a black-and-tan hound, long-eared,
lazy, confident of welcome.
Plunkett turned his head and looked at the
animal, which halted, confidently, within a
few feet of his chair.
Suddenly the sheriff, with a deep-mouthed
oath, left his seat and bestowed upon the dog a
vicious and heavy kick, with his ponderous
The hound, heart-broken, astonished, with
flapping ears and incurved tail, uttered a
piercing yelp of pain and surprise.
Reeves and the consul remained in their
chairs, saying nothing, but astonished at the
The Theory and the Hound 299
unexpected show of intolerance from the
easy-going man from Chatham County.
But Morgan, with a suddenly purpling
face, leaped to his feet and raised a threaten-
ing arm above the guest.
"You brute!" he shouted passionately;
"why did you do that?"
Quickly the amenities returned, Plunkett
muttered some indistinct apology and re-
gained his seat. Morgan with a decided
effort controlled his indignation and also
returned to his chair.
And then Plunkett, with the spring of a tiger,
leaped around the corner of the table and snap-
ped handcuff son the paralyzed Morgan's wrists.
"Hound-lover and woman-killer!" he cried;
"get ready to meet your God."
When Bridger had finished I asked him:
"Did he get the right man?"
"He did," said the consul.
"And how did he know?" I inquired, being
in a kind of bewilderment.
"When he put Morgan in the dory," an-
swered Bridger, "the next day to take him
aboard the Pajaro, this man Plunkett stopped
to shake hands with me and I asked him the
30O The Theory and the Hound
"'Mr. Bridger/ said he, 'I'm a Kentuckian,
and I've seen a great deal of both men and
animals. And I never yet saw a man that
was overfond of horses and dogs but what
was cruel to women.'"
A BLACKJACK BARGAINER
THE most disreputable thing in Yancey
Goree's law office was Goree himself, sprawled
in his creaky old armchair. The rickety little
office, built of red brick, was set flush with the
street the main street of the town of Bethel.
Bethel rested upon the foothills of the
Blue Ridge. Above it the mountains were
piled to the sky. Far below it the turbid
Catawba gleamed yellow along its discon-
The June day was at its sultriest hour.
Bethel dozed in the tepid shade. Trade was
not. It was so still that Goree, reclining in
his chair, distinctly heard the clicking of the
chips in the grand jury room, where the "court-
house gang" was playing poker. From the
open back door of the office a well-worn path
meandered across the grassy lot to the court-
house. The treading out of that path had
cost Goree all he ever had first inheritance
302 A Blackjack Bargainer
of a few thousand dollars, next the old family
home, and latterly the last shreds of his self-
respect and manhood. The "gang" had
cleaned him out. The broken gambler had
turned drunkard and parasite; he had lived
to see this day come when the men who had
stripped him denied him a seat at the game.
His word was no longer to be taken. The
daily bouts at cards had arranged itself ac-
cordingly, and to him was assigned the ig-
noble part of the onlooker. The sheriff, the
county clerk, a sportive deputy, a gay at-
torney, and a chalk-faced man hailing "from
the valley," sat at table, and the sheared one
was thus tacitly advised to go and grow more
Soon wearying of his ostracism, Goree had
departed for his office, muttering to himself
as he unsteadily traversed the unlucky path-
way. After a drink of corn whiskey from a
demijohn under the table, he had flung him-
self into the chair, staring, in a sort of maudlin
apathy, out at the mountains immersed in
the summer haze. The little white patch he
saw away up on the side of Blackjack was
Laurel, the village near which he had been
born and bred. There, also, was the birth-
A Blackjack Bargainer 303
place of the feud between the Gorees and the
Coltranes. Now no direct heir of the Gorees
survived except this plucked and singed bird
of misfortune. To the Coltranes, also, but
one male supporter was left Colonel Abner
Coltrane, a man of substance and standing, a
member of the State Legislature, and a con-
temporary with Goree's father. The feud
had been a typical one of the region; it had
left a red record of hate, wrong, and slaughter.
But Yancey Goree was not thinking of
feuds. His befuddled brain was hopelessly
attacking the problem of the future mainte-
nance of himself and his favourite follies. Of
late, old friends of the family had seen to it
that he had whereof to eat and a place to sleep,
but whiskey they would not buy for him,
and he must have whiskey. His law business
was extinct; no case had been intrusted to
him in two years. He had been a borrower
and a sponge, and it seemed that if he fell
no lower it would be from lack of opportunity.
One more chance he was saying to himself
if he had one more stake at the game, he
thought he could win; but he had nothing
left to sell, and his credit was more than ex-
304 A Blackjack Bargainer
He could not help smiling, even in his
misery, as he thought of the man to whom,
six months before, he had sold the old Goree
homestead. There had come from "back
yan'" in the mountains two of the strangest
creatures, a man named Pike Garvey and his
wife. "Back yan'," with a wave of the hand
toward the hills, was understood among the
mountaineers to designate the remotest fast-
nesses, the unplumbed gorges, the haunts of
lawbreakers, the wolfs den, and the boudoir
of the bear. In the cabin far up on Black-
jack's shoulder, in the wildest part of these re-
treats, this odd couple had lived for twenty
years. They had neither dog nor children
to mitigate the heavy silence of the hills.
Pike Garvey was little known in the settle-
ments, but all who had dealt with him pro-
nounced him "crazy as a loon." He acknow-
ledged no occupation save that of a squirrel
hunter, but he "moonshined" occasionally by
way of diversion. Once the "revenues'* had
dragged him from his lair, fighting silently
and desperately like a terrier, and he had been
sent to state's prison for two years. Re-
leased, he popped back into his hole like an
A Blackjack Bargainer 305
Fortune, passing over many anxious woo-
ers, made a freakish flight into Blackjack's
bosky pockets to smile upon Pike and his
One day a party of spectacled, knicker-
bockered, and altogether absurd prospectors
invaded the vicinity of the Garvey's cabin.
Pike lifted his squirrel rifle off the hooks arid
took a shot at them at long range on tfre
chance of their being revenues. Happily he
missed, and the unconscious agents of good
luck drew nearer, disclosing their innocence
of anything resembling law or justice. Later
on, they offered the Garveys an enormous
quantity of ready, green, crisp money for
their thirty-acre patch of cleared land, men-
tioning, as an excuse for such a mad action,
some irrelevant and inadequate nonsense
about a bed of mica underlying the said
When the Garveys became possessed of
so many dollars that they faltered in com-
puting them, the deficiencies of life on Black-
jack began to grow prominent. Pike began
to talk of new shoes, a hogshead of tobacco to
set in the corner, a new lock to his rifle; and,
leading Martella to a certain spot on the
306 A Blackjack Bargainer
mountain-side, he pointed out to her how a
small cannon doubtless a thing not beyond
the scope of their fortune in price might be
planted so as to command and defend the sole
accessible trail to the cabin, to the confusion
of revenues and meddling strangers forever.
But Adam reckoned without his Eve. These
things represented to him the applied power
of wealth, but there slumbered in his dingy
cabin an ambition that soared far above his
primitive wants. Somewhere in Mrs. Gar-
vey's bosom still survived a spot of femininity
unstarved by twenty years of Blackjack. For
so long a time the sounds in her ears had been
the scaly-barks dropping in the woods at
noon, and the wolves singing among the rocks
at night, and it was enough to have purged
her of vanities. She had grown fat and sad
and yellow and dull. But when the means
came, she felt a rekindled desire to assume
the perquisites of her sex to sit at tea tables;
to buy inutile things; to whitewash the hide-
ous veracity of life with a little form and
ceremony. So she coldly vetoed Pike's pro-
posed system of fortifications, and announced
that they would descend upon the world, and
A Blackjack Bargainer 307
And thus, at length, it was decided, and the
thing done. The village of Laurel was their
compromise between Mrs. Garvey's prefer-
ence for one of the large valley towns and
Pike's hankering for primeval solitudes. Laurel
yielded a halting round of feeble social dis-
tractions comportable with Martella's am-
bitions, and was not entirely without rec-
ommendation to Pike, its contiguity to the
mountains presenting advantages for sudden
retreat in case fashionable society should
make it advisable.
Their descent upon Laurel had been coin-
cident with Yancey Goree's feverish desire to
convert property into casrr, and they bought
the old Goree homestead, paying four thou-
sand dollars ready money into the spend-
thrift's shaking hands.
Thus it happened that while the disreput-
able last of the Gorees sprawled in his disrep-
utable office, at the end of his row, spurned
by the cronies whom he had gorged, strangers
dwelt in the halls of his fathers.
A cloud of dust was rolling slowly up the
parched street, with something travelling in
the midst of it. A little breeze wafted the
cloud to one side, and a new, brightly painted
308 A Blackjack Bargainer
carryall, drawn by a slothful gray horse, be-
came visible. The vehicle deflected from
the middle of the street as it neared Goree's
office, and stopped in the gutter directly in
front of his door.
On the front seat sat a gaunt, tall man,
dressed in black broadcloth, his rigid hands
incarcerated in yellow kid gloves. On the
back seat was a lady who triumphed over the
June heat. Her stout form was armoured
in a skin-tight silk dress of the description
known as "changeable," being a gorgeous
combination of shifting hues. She sat erect,
waving a much-ornamented fan, with her
eyes fixed stonily far down the street. How-
ever Martella Garvey's heart might be re-
joicing at the pleasures of her new life, Black-
jack had done his work with her exterior.
He had carved her countenance to the image
of emptiness and inanity; had imbued her
with the stolidity of his crags and the reserve
of his hushed interiors. She always seemed
to hear, whatever her surroundings were, the
scaly-barks falling and pattering down the
mountainside. She could always hear the
awful silence of Blackjack sounding through
the stillest of nights.
A Blackjack Bargainer 309
Goree watched this solemn equipage, as
it drove to his door, with only faint interest;
but when the lank driver wrapped the reins
about his whip, awkwardly descended, and
stepped into the office, he rose unsteadily
to receive him, recognizing Pike Garvey, the
new, the transformed, the recently civilized.
The mountaineer took the chair Goree
offered him. They who cast doubts upon
Garvey' s soundness of mind had a strong wit-
ness in the man's countenance. His face
was too long, a dull saffron in hue, and im-
mobile as a statue's. Pale-blue, unwinking
round eyes without lashes added to the singu-
larity of his gruesome visage. Goree was at
a loss to account for the visit.
"Everything all right at Laurel, Mr. Gar-
vey?" he inquired.
"Everything all right, sir, and mighty
pleased is Missis Garvey and me with the
property. Missis Garvey likes yo' old place,
and she likes the neighbourhood. Society
is what she 'lows she wants, and she is gettin'
of it. The Rogerses, the Hapgoods, the
Pratts, and the Troys hev been to see Missis
Garvey, and she hev et meals to most of thar
houses. The best folks hev axed her to differ'nt
3io A Blackjack Bargainer
kinds of doin's. I cyan't say, Mr. Goree,
that sech things suits me fur me, give me
them thar." Garvey' s huge, yellow-gloved
hand flourished in the direction of the moun-
tains. " That's whar I b'long, 'mongst the
wild honey bees and the b'ars. But that
ain't what I come fur to say, Mr. Goree.
Thar's somethin' you got what me and Missis
Garvey wants to buy."
"Buy! "echoed Goree. "From me?" Then
he laughed harshly. "I reckon you are mis-
taken about that. I reckon you are mistaken
about that. I sold out to you, as you your-
self expressed it, 'lock, stock, and barrel/
There isn't even a ramrod left to sell."
"You've got it; and we 'uns want it. 'Take
the money,' says Missis Garvey, 'and buy it
fa'r and squar'."
Goree shook his head. "The cupboard's
bare," he said.
"We've riz," pursued the mountaineer, un-
deflecfced from his object, "a heap. We was
pore as possums, and now we could hev folks
to dinner every day. We been reco'nized,
Missis Garvey says, by the best society. But
there's somethin' we need we ain't got. She
says it ought to been put in the 'ventory
A Blackjack Bargainer 311
ov the sale, but it tain't thar. 'Take the
money, then/ says she, 'and buy it fa'r and
"Out with it," said Goree, his racked nerves
Garvey threw his slouch hat upon the table,
and leaned forward, fixing his unblinking eyes
"There's a old feud," he said distinctly and
slowly, " 'tween you 'uns and the Coltranes."
Goree frowned ominously. To speak of his
feud to a feudist is a serious breach of the
mountain etiquette. The man from "back
yan'" knew it as well as the lawyer did.
"Na .offense," he went on, "but purely in
the way of business. Missis Garvey hev
studied all about feuds. Most of the quality
folks in the mountains hev 'em. The Settles
and the Goforths, the Rankins and the Boyds,
the Silers and the Galloways, hev all been
cyarin' on feuds Pom twenty to a hundred
year. The last man. to drap was when yo'
uncle, Jedge Paisley Goree, 'journed co't and
shot Len Coltrane f'om the bench. Missis
Garvey and me, we come f'om the po' white
trash. Nobody wouldn't pick a feud with
we 'uns, no mo'n with a fam'ly of treetoads.
312 A Blackjack Bargainer
Quality people everywhar, says Missis Gar-
vey, has feuds. We 'uns ain't quality, but
we're buyin' into it as fur as we can. 'Take
the money, then,' says Missis Garvey, 'and
buy Mr. Goree's feud, fa'r and squarV"
The squirrel hunter straightened a leg half
across the room, drew a roll of bills from his
pocket, and threw them on the table.
"Thar's two hundred dollars, Mr. Goree;
what you would call a fa'r price for a feud
that's been 'lowed to run down like yourn
hev. Thar's only you left to cyar' on yo'
side of it, and you'd make mighty po' killin'.
I'll take it off yo' hands, and it'll set me and
Missis Garvey up among the quality. Thar's
The little roll of currency on the table
slowly untwisted itself, writhing and jumping
as its folds relaxed. In the silence that fol-
lowed Garvey's last speech the rattling of
the poker chips in the court-house could be
plainly heard. Goree knew that the sheriff
had just won a pot, for the subdued whoop
with which he always greeted a victory floated
across the square upon the crinkly heat waves.
Beads of moisture stood on Goree's brow.
Stooping, he drew the wicker-covered demi-
A Blackjack Bargainer 313
/ohn from under the table, and filled a tum-
bler from it.
"A little corn liquor, Mr. Garvey? Of
course you are joking about what you spoke
of? Opens quite a new market, doesn't it?
Feuds, prime, two-fifty to three. Feuds,
slightly damaged two hundred, I believe
you said, Mr. Garvey?"
Goree laughed self-consciously.
The mountaineer took the glass Goree
handed him, and drank the whiskey without
a tremour of the lids of his staring eyes. The
lawyer applauded the feat by a look of envious
admiration. He poured his own drink, and
took it like a drunkard, by gulps, and with
shudders at the smell and taste.
"Two hundred," repeated Garvey. "Thar's
A sudden passion flared up in Goree's brain.
He struck the table with his fist. One of the
bills flipped over and touched his hand. He
flinched as if something had stung him.
"Do you come to me," he shouted, "ser-
iously with such a ridiculous, insulting, darned
"It's fa'r and squar'," said the squirrel
hunter, but he reached out his hand as if to
314 A Blackjack Bargainer
take back the money; and then Goree knew
that his own flurry of rage had not been
from pride or resentment, but from anger at
himself, knowing that he would set foot in the
deeper depths that were being opened to him.
He turned in an instant from an outraged
gentleman to an anxious chafferer recom-
mending his goods.
"Don't be in a hurry, Garvey," he said, his
face crimson and his speech thick. "I ac-
cept your p-p-proposition, though it's dirt
cheap at two hundred. A t-trade's all right
when both p-purchaser and b-buyer are s-satis-
fied. Shall I w-wrap it up for you, Mr.
Garvey rose, and shook out his broadcloth.
"Missis Garvey will be pleased. You air out
of it, and it stands Coltrane and Garvey. Just
a scrap ov writin', Mr. Goree, you bein' a
lawyer, to show we traded."
Goree seized a sheet of paper and a pen.
The money was clutched in his moist hand.
Everything eke suddenly seemed to grow
trivial and light.
"Bill of sale, by all means. 'Right, title,
and interest in and to' ... 'forever war-
rant and ' No, Garvey, we'll have to
A Blackjack Bargainer 315
leave out that 'defend/" said Goree with a
loud laugh. "You'll have to defend this title
The mountaineer received the amazing
screed that the lawyer handed him, folded it
with immense labour, and placed it carefully
in his pocket.
Goree was standing near the window. " Step
here," he said, raising his finger, "and I'll
show you your recently purchased enemy.
There he goes, down the other side of the
The mountaineer crooked his long frame to
look through the window in the direction in-
dicated by the other. Colonel Abner Col-
trane, an erect, portly gentleman of about
fifty, wearing the inevitable long, double-
breasted frock coat of the Southern lawmaker,
and an old high silk hat, was passing on the
opposite sidewalk. As Garvey looked, Goree
glanced at his face. If there be such a thing
as a yellow wolf, here was its counterpart.
Garvey snarled as his unhuman eyes followed
the moving figure, disclosing long, amber-
"Is that him? Why, that's the man who
sent me to the pen'tentiary once!"
316 A Blackjack Bargainer
"He used to be district attorney," said
Goree carelessly. "And, by the way, he's a
"I kin hit a squirrel's eye at a hundred
yard," said Garvey. "So that thar's Col-
trane! I made a better trade than I was
thinkin'. I'll take keer ov this feud, Mr.
Goree, better'n you ever did!"
He moved toward the door, but lingered
there, betraying a slight perplexity.
"Anything - else to-day?" inquired Goree
with frothy sarcasm. "Any family tradi-
tions, ancestral ghosts, or skeletons in the
closet ? Prices as low as the lowest."
"Thar was another thing," replied the un-
moved squirrel hunter, "that Missis Garvey
was thinkin' of. Tain't so much in my line
as t'other, but she wanted partic'lar that I
should inquire, and ef you was willin', 'pay
fur it/ she says, 'fa'r and squarV Thar's a
buryin* groun', as you know, Mr. Goree, in
the yard of yo' old place, under the cedars.
Them that lies thar is yo' folks what was
killed by the Coltranes. The monyments
has the names on 'em. Missis Garvey says a
fam'ly buryin' groun' is a sho' sign of quality.
She says ef we git the feud, thar's somethin'
A Blackjack Bargainer 317
else ought to go with it. The names on them
monyments is ' Goree,' but they can be changed
to ourn by
"Go! Go!" screamed Goree, his face turn-
ing purple. He stretched out both hands to-
ward the mountaineer, his fingers hooked and
shaking. " Go, you ghoul ! Even a Ch-China-
man protects the g-graves of his ancestors
The squirrel hunter slouched out of the
door to his carryall. While he was climbing
>ver the wheel Goree was collecting, with
feverish celerity, the money that had fallen
from his hand to the floor. As the vehicle
slowly turned about, the sheep, with a coat
of newly grown wool, was hurrying, in in-
decent haste, along the path to the court-
At three o'clock in the morning they brought
him back to his office, shorn and unconscious.
The sheriff, the sportive deputy, the county
clerk, and the gay attorney carried him, the
chalk-faced man "from the valley" acting as
"On the table," said one of them, and they
deposited him there among the litter of his
unprofitable books and papers.
3i8 A Blackjack Bargainer
" Yance thinks a lot of a pair of deuces when
he's liquored up," sighed the sheriff reflec-
"Too much," said the gay attorney. "A
man has no business to play poker who drinks
as much as he does. I wonder how much he
"Close to two hundred. What I wonder
is whar he got it. Yance ain't had a cent fur
over a month, I know."
"Struck a client, maybe. Well, let's get
home before daylight. He'll be all right
when he wakes up, except for a sort of beehive
about the cranium."
The gang slipped away through the early
morning twilight. The next eye to gaze upon
the miserable Goree was the orb of day. He
peered through the uncurtained window, first
deluging the sleeper in a flood of faint gold,
but soon pouring upon the mottled red of
his flesh a searching, white, summer heat.
Goree stirred, half unconsciously, among the
table's debris, and turned his face from the
window. His movement dislodged a heavy
law book, which crashed upon the floor.
Opening his eyes, he saw, bending over him,
a man in a black frock coat. Looking higher,
A Blackjack Bargainer 319
he discovered a well-worn silk hat, and be-
neath it the kindly, smooth face of Colonel
A little uncertain of the outcome, the
colonel waited for the other to make some
sign of recognition. Not in twenty years
had male members of these two families
faced each other in peace. Goree's eyelids
puckered as he strained his blurred sight
toward this visitor, and then he smiled serenely.
"Have you brought Stella and Lucy over
to play?" he said calmly.
"Do you know me, Yancey?" asked Col-
"Of course I do. You brought me a whip
with a whistle in the end."
So he had twenty-four years ago; when
Yancey 's father was his best friend.
Goree's eyes wandered about the room.
The colonel understood. "Lie still, and I'll
bring you some," said he. There was a pump
in the yard at the rear, and Goree closed his
eyes, listening with rapture to the click of its
handle, and the bubbling of the falling stream.
Coltrane brought a pitcher of the cool water,
and held it for him to drink. Presently
Goree sat up a most forlorn object, his
320 A Blackjack Bargainer
summer suit of flax soiled and crumpled, his
discreditable head tousled and unsteady. He
tried to wave one of his hands toward the
" Ex-excuse everything, will you ?" he said.
"I must have drunk too much whiskey last
night, and gone to bed on the table." His
brows knitted into a puzzled frown.
"Out with the boys a while?" asked Col-
"No, I went nowhere. I haven't had a
dollar to spend in the last two months.
Struck the demijohn too often, I reckon, as
Colonel Coltrane touched him on the shoul-
"A little while ago, Yancey," he began,
"you asked me if I had brought Stella and
Lucy over to play. You weren't quite awake
then, and must have been dreaming you were
a boy again. You are awake now, and I
want you to listen to me. I have come from
Stella and Lucy to their old playmate, and
to my old friend's son. They know that I
am going to bring you home with me, and you
will find them as ready with a welcome as
they were in the old days. I want you to?
A Blackjack Bargainer 321
come to my house and stay until you are
yourself again, and as much longer as you
will. We heard of your being down in the
world, and in the midst of temptation, and
we agreed that you should come over and
play at our house once more. Will you come,
my boy? Will you drop our old family
trouble and come with me?"
" Trouble!" said Goree, opening his eyes
wide. "There was never any trouble be-
tween us that I know of. I'm sure we've
always been the best friends. But, good
Lord, Colonel, how could I go to your home
as I am a drunken wretch, a miserable,
degraded spendthrift and gambler
He lurched from the table into his arm-
chair, and began to weep maudlin tears,
mingled with genuine drops of remorse and
shame. Coltrane talked to him persistently
and reasonably, reminding him of the simple
mountain pleasures of which he had once
been so fond, and insisting upon the genuine-
ness of the invitation.
Finally he landed Goree by tellkig him he
was counting upon his help in the engineering
and transportation of a large amount of felled
timber from a high mountain-side to a water-
322 A Blackjack Bargainer
way. He knew that Goree had once invented
a device for this purpose a series of slides
and chutes upon which he had justly prided
himself. In an instant the poor fellow, de-
lighted at the idea of his being of use to any
one, had paper spread upon the table, and
was drawing rapid but pitifully shaky lines in
demonstration of what he could and would do.
The man was sickened of the husks; his
prodigal heart was turning again toward the
mountains. His mind was yet strangely
clogged, and his thoughts and memories
were returning to his brain one by one, like
carrier pigeons over a stormy sea. But Col-
trane was satisfied with the progress he had
Bethel received the surprise of its existence
that afternoon when a Coltrane and a Goree
rode amicably together through the town.
Side by side they rode, out from the dusty
streets and gaping townspeople, down across
the creek bridge, and up toward the mountain.
The prodigal had brushed and washed and
combed himself to a more decent figure, but
he was unsteady in the saddle, and he seemed
to be deep in the contemplation of some vex-
ing problem. Coltrane left him in his mood,
A Blackjack Bargainer 323
relying ugon the influence of changed sur-
roundings to restore his equilibrium.
Once Goree was seized with a shaking fit*
and almost came to a collapse. He had to
dismount and rest at the side of the road.
The colonel, foreseeing such a condition, had
provided a small flask of whiskey for the
journey, but when it was offered to him Goree
refused it almost with violence, declaring he
would never touch it again. By and by he
was recovered, and went quietly enough for
a mile or two. Then he pulled up his horse
suddenly, and said:
"I lost two hundred dollars last night,
playing poker. Now, where did I get that
"Take it easy, Yancey. The mountain
air will soon clear it up. We'll go fishing,
first thing, at the Pinnacle Falls. The trout
are jumping there like bullfrogs. We'll take
Stella and Lucy along, arid have a picnic on
Eagle Rock. Have you forgotten how a
hickory-cured-ham sandwich tastes, Yancey,
to a hungry fisherman?"
Evidently the colonel did not believe the
story of his lost wealth; so Goree retired
again into brooding silence.
324 A Blackjack Bargainer
By late afternoon they had travelled ten
of the twelve miles between Bethel and Laurel.
Half a mile this side of Laurel lay the old
Goree place; a mile or two beyond the village
lived the Coltranes. The road was now steep
and laborious, but the compensations were
many. The tilted aisles of the forest were
opulent with leaf and bird and bloom. The
tonic air put to shame the pharmacopaeia.
The glades were dark with mossy shade, and
bright with shy rivulets winking from the
ferns and laurels. On the lower side they
viewed, framed in the near foliage, exquisite
sketches of the far valley swooning in its opal
Coltrane was pleased to see that his com-
panion was yielding to the spell of the hills
and woods. For now they had but to skirt
the base of Painter's Cliff; to cross Elder
Branch and mount the hill beyond, and Goree
would have to face the squandered home of
his fathers. Every rock he passed, every
tree, every foot of the roadway, was familiar
to him. Though he had forgotten the woods,
they thrilled him like the music of "Home,
They rounded the cliff, descended into
A Blackjack Bargainer 325
Elder Branch, and paused there to let the
horses drink and splash in the swift water.
On the right was a rail fence that cornered
there, and followed the road and stream.
Inclosed by it was the old apple orchard of
the home place; the house was yet concealed
by the brow of the steep hill. Inside and
along the fence, pokeberries, elders, sassa-
fras, and sumac grew high and dense. At
a rustle of their branches, both Goree and
Coltrane glanced up, and saw a long, yellow,
wolfish face above the fence, staring at them
with pale, unwinking eyes. The head quickly
disappeared; there was a violent swaying of
the bushes, and an ungainly figure ran up
through the apple orchard in the direction of
the house, zigzagging among the trees.
"That's Garvey," said Coltrane; "the man
you sold out to. There's no doubt but he's
considerably cracked. I had to send him up
for moonshining once, several years ago, in
spite of the fact that I believed him irrespon-
sible. Why, what's the matter, Yancey?"
Goree was wiping his forehead, and his face
had lost its colour. "Do I look queer, too?"
he asked, trying to smile. "I'm just re-
membering a few more things." Some of the
326 A Blackjack Bargainer
alcohol had evaporated from his brain. "I
recollect now where I got that two hundred
"Don't think of it," said Coltrane cheer-
fully. "Later on we'll figure it all out to-
They rode out of the branch, and when they
reached the foot of the hill Goree stopped
"Did you ever suspect I was a very vain
kind of fellow, Colonel?" he asked. "Sort of
foolish proud about appearances?"
The colonel's eyes refused to wander to the
soiled, sagging suit of flax and the faded slouch
"It seems to me," he replied, mystified,
but humouring him, "I remember a young
buck about twenty, with the tightest coat,
the sleekest hair, and the prancingest saddle
horse in the Blue Ridge."
" Right you are," said Goree eagerly. " And
it's in me yet, though it don't show. Oh, I'm
as vain as a turkey gobbler, and as proud as
Lucifer. I'm going to ask you to indulge this
weakness of mine in a little matter."
"Speak out, Yancey. We'll create you
Duke of Laurel and Baron of Blue Ridge, if
A Blackjack Bargainer 327
you choose; an4 you shall have a feather out
of Stella's peacock's tail to wear in your hat."
"I'm in earnest. In a few minutes we'll
pass the house up there on the hill where I
was born, and where my people have lived
for nearly a century. Strangers live there
now and look at me! I am about to show
myself to them ragged and poverty-stricken,
a wastrel and a beggar. Colonel Coltrane,
I'm ashamed to do it. I want you to let me
wear your coat and hat until we are out of
sight beyond. I know you think it a foolish
pride, but I want to make as good a showing
as I can when I pass the old place."
"Now, what does this mean?" said Col-
trane to himself, as he compared his com-
panion's sane looks and quiet demeanour with
his strange request. But he was already un-
buttoning the coat, assenting readily, as if the
fancy were in no wise to be considered strange.
The coat and hat fitted Goree well. He
buttoned the former about him with a look
of satisfaction and dignity. He and Coltrane
were nearly the same size rather tall, portly,
and erect. Twenty-five years were between
them, but in appearance they might have
been brothers. Goree looked older than his
328 A Blackjack Bargainer
age; his face was puffy and lined; the colonel
had the smooth, fresh complexion of a tem-
perate liver. He put on Goree's disreputable
old flax coat and faded slouch hat.
"Now," said Goree, taking up the reins,
"I'm all right. I want you to ride about
ten feet in the rear as we go by, Colonel, so
that they can get a good look at me. They'll
see I'm no back number yet, by any means. I
guess I'll show up pretty well to them once
more, anyhow. Let's ride on."
He set out up the hill at a smart trot, the
colonel following, as he had been requested.
Goree sat straight in the saddle, with head
erect, but his eyes were turned to the right,
sharply scanning every shrub and fence and
hiding-place in the old homestead yard. Once
he muttered to himself, "Will the crazy fool
try it, or did I dream half of it ?"
It was when he came opposite the little
family burying ground that he saw what he
had been looking for a puff of white smoke
coming from the thick cedars in one corner.
He toppled so slowly to the left that Coltrane
had time to urge his horse to that side, and
catch him with one arm.
The squirrel hunter had not overpraised
A Blackjack Bargainer 329
his aim. He had sent the bullet where he
intended, and where Goree had expected
that it would pass through the breast of
Colonel Abner Coltrane's black frock coat.
Goree leaned heavily against Coltrane,
but he did not fall. The horses kept pace,
side by side, and the colonel's' arm kept him
steady. The little white houses of Laurel
shone through the trees, half a mile away.
Goree reached out one hand and groped until
it rested upon Coltrane's fingers, which held
"Good friend," he said, and that was all.
Thus did Yancey Goree, as he rode past his
old home, make, considering all things, the
best showing that was in his power.
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